Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Space Photographer Captures Enormous Structure on Surface of Sun Appears to Be Coming Apart

1:09 AM | , ,

Large, luminous loops of plasma — electrically charged hydrogen and helium gas — that stretch from the surface of the sun are known as solar prominences. They may be very enormous, possibly tens of times the size of the Earth.

Even while solar prominences may grow in less than a day, they can be sturdy enough to last for months, extending hundreds of thousands of kilometers into space while remaining fixed to the sun's surface.

NASA reports that solar prominences run along the sun's braided and twisted magnetic field lines, however, scientists are uncertain as to their origin.

On Sunday, astrophotographer Sebastian Voltmer posted a tweet including a photo of what he called a "huge prominence" on the surface of the sun. He added: "That's impressive, but it was spectacular to see a very fast moving part of it through my small refractor telescope—ejecting and detaching to the side."

According to the website, the image suggests that the prominence "might be coming apart."

The Realtime Image Gallery on has more photographs of solar prominences captured last week.

Voltmer has shared video footage of the prominence in motion as well as a solar surface eruption. "This huge eruption is 20 times the size of the Earth," he said in the video.

Sometimes, solar prominences dissolve or completely collapse. This occurs when the magnetic field in their area becomes unstable, such as when a new magnetic field line pokes through the sun's surface under a prominence, according to solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

The collapse of a solar prominence may result in the production of a Hyder flare, named after the scientist Charles Hyder, who researched these phenomena.
It is crucial to highlight that astrophotographers who capture photos of solar prominences or any other images of the sun do so safely by using specialized filters. According to Sky & Telescope, looking straight at the sun without adequate protection may burn the retina, leaving permanent blindness.

Solar prominences should not be confused with solar flares, which are rapid bursts of light and radiation emitted by entangled magnetic field lines near sunspots.

Also, they should not be confused with coronal mass ejections, which are huge clouds of charged solar particles that may interact with the Earth's atmosphere and generate a geomagnetic storm.


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