Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sun explosions a 'concert of mayhem'

Global Eruption Rocks the Sun
VIDEO here.

NASA Science News: On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big. It was so big it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity...

[After three months of study, they announced that] explosions on the sun are not localized or isolated events... Instead, solar activity is interconnected by magnetism over breathtaking distances. Solar flares, tsunamis, coronal mass ejections -- they can go off all at once, hundreds of thousands of miles apart, in a dizzyingly-compex concert of mayhem...

'Not all eruptions are going to be global,' notes [Lika] Guhathakurta, [NASA's Living With a Star Program Scientist]. 'But the global character of solar activity can no longer be ignored.'
Image source here.