The Sun ... dark fireworks

15 Jul 2011

This story is at a variety of sites but is as good as most. On June 7th this year, 2011, a flash of X-rays was registered with an origin in the Sun - but was fairly moderate as these things go. However, when astronomers looked at the images taken by cameras on satellites circling the earth they were astonished at the intensity of the solar storm. A video and a smaller You Tube version is available online to view. It shows a solar tsunami (a popular word all of a sudden) billowing away from the eruption - triggered by an unstable magnetic filament near the surface of the Sun. Plasma exploded in a spray of blobs and streamers. At provides a more interesting overview and a gamut of comments to peruse. It also provides the video which is large and you to wait some while for it to download. Anthony Watts encourages people to be patient and wait for the download. He goes on to speculate such events may actually be quite common - it is just that images of them have not been taken. This is just the first time the event has been captured on camera.