August 3, 2010

(PHOTOS) August 3, 2010 Cosmic Tsunami from Solar Eruption

by the Left Coast Rebel

This one stirs the imagination. Check out the discussion over at Memeorandum. The Register reports:

According to boffins analysing results delivered from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite, Sunday saw a massive convulsion involving almost the entire face of the Sun facing Earth. The event was apparently centred on Sunspot 1092, a huge solar pimple so large as to be visible without the aid of a telescope.

It appears that the sunspot may have triggered a huge "coronal mass ejection" in which huge amounts of superhot plasma were spurted towards Earth accompanied by solar flares, tsunamis, magnetic filaments and other sun-wracking upsets across half the sun's surface.

"This eruption is directed right at us, and is expected to get here early in the day on August 4th," says astronomer Leon Golub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "It's the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time."

Normally a blast of radiation like this could be expected to wipe out much of the human race, but fortunately we are protected by the Earth's magnetic field. Instead the deadly solar plasma is expected to stream down the planetary field lines towards the poles, crashing into oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere and so lighting them up to form aurorae - the so-called Northern Lights.

Fox News:

Earth is bracing for a cosmic tsunami Tuesday night as tons of plasma from a massive solar flarehead directly toward the planet.

The Sun's surface erupted early Sunday morning, shooting a wall of ionized atoms directly at Earth, scientists say. It is expected to create a geomagnetic storm and a spectacular light show -- and it could pose a threat to satellites in orbit, as well.

"This eruption is directed right at us and is expected to get here early in the day on Aug. 4," said Leon Golub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "It's the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time."

The solar eruption, called a coronal mass ejection, was spotted by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which captures high-definition views of the sun at a variety of wavelengths. SDO was launched in February and peers deep into the layers of the sun, investigating the mysteries of its inner workings.

"We got a beautiful view of this eruption," Golub said. "And there might be more beautiful views to come if it triggers aurorae."

Views of aurorae are usually associated with Canada and Alaska, but even skywatchers in the northern U.S. mainland are being told they can look toward the north Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for rippling "curtains" of green and red light.

When a coronal mass ejection reaches Earth, solar particles stream down our planet's magnetic field lines toward the poles. In the process, the particles collide with atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere, which then glow, creating an effect similar to miniature
neon signs.

Photos from NASA:
A full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken by the new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO ) on March 30, 2010.False colors trace different gas temperatures. Reds are relatively cool (about 107,540 F); blues and greens are hotter (greater than 1,799,540 F).

Sun Waking Up
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory snapped this X-ray photo of the Sun early in the morning of Sunday, August 1st. The dark arc near the top right edge of the image is a filament of plasma blasting off the surface -- part of the coronal mass ejection. The bright region is an unassociated solar flare. When particles from the eruption reach Earth on the evening of August 3rd/4th, they may trigger a brilliant auroral display known as the Northern Lights. Credit: NASA

Solar Prominence
An image of the sun moments before a twisting solar prominence erupts on March 30, 2010. Images and videos taken by the SDO give evidence of the dynamic sun never before seen by NASA's scientists.

Solar Prominence
The same image as it erupts, click here for full video of the event

Cross posted to Left Coast Rebel.

Updated: Don Surber punishes himself and writes "I will not use this story to refudiate global warming" on the chalkboard 100 times.

As Instapundit would say, HEH.


  1. Why is NASA wasting money on this when so many Islamic people feel insecure?

  2. I have never seen an aurora borealis.

  3. Saw it from Lake Erie one time, beautiful...Although the booze helped!

  4. LL - Heh

    Opus - I haven't either!

    WMUR - Indeed, I want to see it one day.

  5. Wonderful work fellas. Its amazing. I have never seen anything like this before. Thank u for ALL your hard work and keep me informed. Awesome.