The Sun's Magnetic Field Destroyed a Solar Eruption on its Surface

Tuesday, 29 August 2017 - 6:23PM
NASA
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Tuesday, 29 August 2017 - 6:23PM
The Sun's Magnetic Field Destroyed a Solar Eruption on its Surface
NASA Goddard
From this far away, it's eay to look up at the sun and think of it as merely a big ball of static light, kind of like a lamp or a lightbulb.

It's important to remind yourself it's actually a gigantic ball of fire, and is constantly in a state of flux as its flames flicker and dance, pushed by solar winds, while a strong magnetic current surges through the entire burning celestial body. There's still a lot we haven't managed to observe on the sun's surface, but recently, scientists got the chance to see something neat that we've never actually witnessed before.

In a new video from NASA, scientists show off footage of a solar eruption beginning to form on the surface of the sun, before it's ultimately shredded by the powerful magnetic force that the solar body possesses. To help paint a clearer picture, just imagine Magneto defeating the Human Torch on the surface of the sun, and you've got a pretty good idea of what's going on here:



What essentially looks like a flame rising then bursting and collapsing on the sun's surface is fascinating to those looking to better understand the cosmos. These eruptions are similar to solar flares in that they shoot energy and debris out from the sun when they reach their peak - flares let out X-rays, while the filament seen in the video would have released plasma had it been given the chance.

Both types of flotsam can be detected from Earth, and can potentially affect our weather patterns and electronics. A big enough eruption could leave the Earth completely without electronic devices whatsoever, which would certainly make things interesting after the initial chaos settles.

Solar physicists looking to gain a better understanding of conditions on the surface of the sun have been conducting a study, one which involves involves training several different types of camera and receptors on the same spot on the solar surface. The end goal is to view occurrences like this would-be eruption in terms of its energy levels, heat, radiation, and magnetic force.

It's from these different observational approaches that we've now been able to view the magnetic shredding of a solar eruption from every possible angle. According to Georgios Chintzoglou, lead scientist on the study:

Opening quote
"Each component of our observations was very important. Remove one instrument, and you're basically blind. In solar physics, you need to have good coverage observing multiple temperatures - if you have them all, you can tell a nice story."
Closing quote


Watching this footage is absolutely fascinating - it's interesting to see just what goes on atop the surface of the sun. The big yellow ball may appear as a constant shape in our sky, but up close, it's a chaotic mess of energy and fire, perpetually shifting as its local weather changes and eruptions punctuate its surface.
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