March 2nd, 2011

star-forming nebula

Astro-Porn of the Day: Monster Solar Prominence

On Feb. 24, a gorgeous mass of erupting plasma swirled and twisted above the Sun for 90 minutes. Some of the material blew out into space while some fell back to the surface. This photo is but one image from a movie captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. See the beauty for yourself by clicking this image (opens an mp4 clip in a new window):


Click the image to see a movie of the massive flare.

To give you some perspective on the size of such solar storms, this flare is hundreds of times larger than the Earth. Here's a visual aid:



That tiny blue speck in the middle of that giant bubble on the upper right? That's the Earth, where every story that every human has ever lived is set. Heck, you could fit the orbit of the Moon within a prominence of such size, so even the full stories of the Moonwalkers would be contained within that eruption.

The Sun never ceases to amaze and delight!

Chris