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New Video: Solar Flare Spied on Candy-Colored Sun

On Thursday, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this colorful close-up video of a long-lasting M-class solar flare.

The eruption shot out of active region 1401, a large sunspot that’s been spitting flares about once a day since satellites saw it advancing onto the sun’s Earth-facing disk.

As seen in the new video, the latest flare was followed by a coronal mass ejection, or CME, that was aimed right at Earth.

Scientists predict this cloud of solar particles could reach our planet on Saturday, giving weekend sky-watchers a better than average chance of witnessing some glorious auroras.

(See photos: “Multicolored Auroras Sparked by Double Sun Blast.”)

Meanwhile, the video itself shows the sun in a bevy of brilliant hues because SDO is able to capture pictures in ten wavelengths every ten seconds.

In this composite footage, each color represents a different temperature region of the sun, which corresponds to one of our star’s layers.

For instance, in the picture here, data from SDO is used to “paint” several layers onto the sun.


Picture courtesy NASA/SDO

The “flat” yellow at the far left is the sun’s surface, or photosphere, which is a mere 10,800 degrees F (6,000 degrees C). Pictures of the relatively cool photosphere allow us to see the even colder, darker blobs called sunspots that signal magnetic activity on the sun’s surface.

The turbulent gold region is the layer between the chromosphere (lower atmosphere) and the corona (upper atmosphere). This mid-temperature zone is around 1.8 million degrees F (a million degrees C).

Next, swirling blues and greens represent three different wavelengths from the corona, where temperatures can soar up to 3.6 million degrees F (two million degrees C).

Finally, the far right panel includes an illustration of the sun’s magnetic field lines, which spring from and connect the active regions on the photosphere.

Scientists can use SDO’s penetrating gaze to try and solve a number of solar mysteries, such as why the star’s upper atmosphere is so much hotter than its surface—the reverse of the situation on Earth.

(Related: “Comet Seen Vaporizing in Sun’s Atmosphere—A First.”)

In addition, solar experts can use SDO to examine the link between activity on the sun’s surface and the often abrupt discharges of material from the corona. When aimed at Earth, CMEs can not only trigger auroras but, if they’re intense enough, they can also damage satellites and the power grid.

Comments

  1. Gnaneshwari
    Hyderabad
    January 25, 2012, 3:19 am

    2012 has given scope for further research about wat is goin on in dis universe

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  3. Delaware Jack
    Delaware
    January 23, 2012, 1:49 pm

    Maybe after the Mayans foresaw the state of the world in 2012 with reality show people & ” celebrities ” as the new ” stars ‘ of the world & to who a vast majority of people in this feeble world sadly now obviously bow down to as their new ” gods “, their prognostication of the end of the World on 12/21/2012 is not so much of a prophecy, but perhaps is actually wishful thinking on their part ! lol

  4. [...] 23, which corresponds to late Sunday, Jan.Recommended: Solar weather sparks super sightsmsnbc.comNew Video: Solar Flare Spied on Candy-Colored SunNational GeographicLong Duration M3.2 Class Solar Flare and CMENASAUSA TODAY -Christian Science [...]

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  7. applecreeker
    CO
    January 22, 2012, 10:45 pm

    Mark Goldes

    Sebastopol, CA
    January 20, 1:46 am
    A solar flare can cause a nuclear nightmare on earth.

    See the Aesop Institute website for how and why.

    These are potentially mortal threats to humanity. A program to prevent the worst is long overdue and should be given an extremely high priority in the White House and Congress.

    No doubt you are a liberal Democrat who actually believes we are in charge of our destiny and our only hope is that government can solve our problems. How did your last “hope and change” thing work out? Do you really believe government can regulate the natural events that threaten the future of the planet? What has government done lately? They can’t even improve education, collect due taxes, balance the country’s checkbook, or administrate an equitable housing policy. This is “rocket science” and we have no control over the events in progress on the sun. Truly, IN GOD WE TRUST.

  8. [...] our waymsnbc.comMassive solar flare headed toward Earth, may spark celestial light showFox NewsNew Video: Solar Flare Spied on Candy-Colored SunNational GeographicNASA -USA TODAY -Christian Science Monitorall 50 news [...]

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  11. [...] toward Earth, may spark celestial light showFox NewsLong Duration M3.2 Class Solar Flare and CMENASANational Geographic -USA TODAY -Christian Science Monitorall 46 news [...]

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  14. [...] solar flare headed toward Earth, may spark celestial light showFox NewsNASA -National Geographic -Christian Science Monitorall 44 news [...]

  15. [...] Solar blast heading our waymsnbc.comLong Duration M3.2 Class Solar Flare and CMENASANational Geographic -USA TODAY -Northern Voices Onlineall 41 news [...]

  16. M
    www.aesopinstitute.org
    January 21, 2012, 11:53 am

    The CME event will interact with high atomic weight fallout (both radioactive and NON-radioactive) in the upper atmosphere and produce a witches’ brew of new radioactive fallout via nuclear spallation processes. The extent to which this will occur is difficult to determine without access to advanced simulation models, however previous such occurrences have correlated with the detections of radioiodines over Europe.

    If the expected effects do occur, they will be most strongly be felt on the sunlit side of the planet. The evidence for such effects would be distributed and difficult to localize detections of fresh radioactive fallout. On the dark side of the planet the effects would produce unusual colors in the Northern Lights and greater penetration into the Southern Latitudes. An early arrival of effect should not be ruled out either.

    From pissinontheroses.org See the Aesop Institute website for more on this solar storm and its implications.

  17. [...] Spark Auroras TONIGHT Across USEcorazziRecommended: Solar blast heading our waymsnbc.comNASA -National Geographic -USA TODAYall 37 news [...]

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  20. [...] Northern Lights SaturdayAccuWeather.comRecommended: Solar blast heading our waymsnbc.comNASA -National Geographicall 35 news [...]

  21. Oliver K. Manuel
    Cape Girardeau, MO
    January 20, 2012, 5:42 pm

    These flares arise from the Sun’s pulsate core or from the iron-rich mantle that surrounds it. This was explained in a 2002 paper in The Journal of Fusion Energy. Oliver K. Manuel

  22. Mark Goldes
    Sebastopol, CA
    January 20, 2012, 5:00 pm

    This storm is not likely to damage the power grid.

    But, we are playing Russian roulette with the sun and may not be so lucky much longer.

    Worldwide grid collapse can cause a nuclear nightmare.

    See http://www.aesopinstitute.org to understand why and how.

    As well as ways the worst might be prevented.

  23. [...] New Video: Solar Flare Spied on Candy-Colored SunNational GeographicOn Thursday, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this colorful close-up video of a long-lasting M-class solar flare. The eruption shot out of active region 1401, a large sunspot that's been spitting flares about once a day since satellites …Long Duration M3.2 Class Solar Flare and CMENASARecommended: Solar blast heading our waymsnbc.comSolar flare hurtling towards Earth at 630 miles per second will hit our …Daily MailUSA TODAY -WOOD-TV (blog)all 15 news articles » [...]

  24. [...] New Video: Solar Flare Spied on Candy-Colored SunNational GeographicOn Thursday, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this colorful close-up video of a long-lasting M-class solar flare. The eruption shot out of active region 1401, a large sunspot that's been spitting flares about once a day since satellites …Recommended: Solar blast heading our waymsnbc.comNASA: Sun uncorks aurora-burnishing blast at EarthUSA TODAYLong Duration M3.2 Class Solar Flare and CMENASASouthgate Amateur Radio Club -WOOD-TV (blog)all 14 news articles » [...]

  25. Mark Goldes
    Sebastopol, CA
    January 20, 2012, 1:46 am

    A solar flare can cause a nuclear nightmare on earth.

    See the Aesop Institute website for how and why.

    These are potentially mortal threats to humanity. A program to prevent the worst is long overdue and should be given an extremely high priority in the White House and Congress.

  26. [...] New Video: Solar Flare Spied on Candy-Colored SunNational GeographicOn Thursday, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this colorful close-up video of a long-lasting M-class solar flare. The eruption shot out of active region 1401, a large sunspot that's been spitting flares about once a day since satellites …Recommended: Solar blast heading our waymsnbc.comNASA: Sun uncorks aurora-burnishing blast at EarthUSA TODAYLong Duration M3.2 Class Solar Flare and CMENASABusiness Insider -The Weather Spaceall 12 news articles » [...]

  27. [...] New Video: Solar Flare Spied on Candy-Colored SunNational GeographicOn Thursday, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this colorful close-up video of a long-lasting M-class solar flare. The eruption shot out of active region 1401, a large sunspot that's been spitting flares about once a day since satellites …NASA: Sun uncorks aurora-burnishing blast at EarthUSA TODAYLong Duration M3.2 Class Solar Flare and CMENASANASA satellites detected the Sun unleashing a moderate blast at Earth today …The News-PressBusiness Insider -Universe Today -The Weather Spaceall 10 news articles » [...]

  28. [...] New Video: Solar Flare Spied on Candy-Colored SunNational GeographicOn Thursday, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this colorful close-up video of a long-lasting M-class solar flare. The eruption shot out of active region 1401, a large sunspot that's been spitting flares about once a day since satellites …NASA: Sun uncorks aurora-burnishing blast at EarthUSA TODAYLong Duration M3.2 Class Solar Flare and CMENASANASA satellites detected the Sun unleashing a moderate blast at Earth today …The News-PressBusiness Insider -Universe Today -The Weather Spaceall 10 news articles » [...]