Eureka! The Sun Has A Bright Idea…
Only nature could imitate life – or art! In this case it’s a gigantic coronal mass ejection whose shape conjures up the image of a cartoon character having a bright idea. In this case it’s really bright… a tremendous explosion of of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) on August 20, 2012, this bulbous CME certainly resembled a light bulb. It has the thin outer edge and a bright, glowing core at its center. CMEs are often bulbous, but it has been years since we’ve seen one with the elements (pun intended) of a light bulb.”
The frames were taken by Solar and Heliospheric Observatory’s (SOHO) Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) C2 instrument. LASCO is able to take images of the solar corona by blocking the light coming directly from the Sun with an occulter disk, creating an artificial eclipse within the instrument itself.
The position of the solar disk is indicated in the images by the white circle. The C2 image shows the inner solar corona up to 8.4 million kilometers (5.25 million miles) away from the Sun.
Do you see some speckles in the image? That’s not a video defect, it’s energetic particles hitting the camera lens! If the CME is directed towards Earth, these particles arrive about five days after leaving the Sun – and leave us with some serious space weather. In late 2003, record breaking CMEs sent their payload our way.
Says Gordon D. Holman, “These massive outpourings of charged particles were obvious on and near Earth–a full 150 million kilometers away from the source.
For example, the barrage of particles reaching our neighborhood in space was at times so great that many scientific and communications satellites had to be temporarily shut down.
A few suffered permanent damage. Astronauts on the International Space Station were endangered as well and had to take refuge in their facility’s relatively well shielded service module.
Closer to home, airliners were routed away from high latitudes, where pilots would have encountered problems with radio communications and passengers and crew could have been subjected to worrisome levels of radiation.
Also, electrical grids had to be carefully monitored for surges. Despite those efforts, 50,000 residents in southern Sweden briefly lost power.”
Original Story Source: NASA Sun/Earth News Release.
- The Solar Corona In Hi-Def (davidreneke.com)