The Sciences

Arc of dissent

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitDec 8, 2010 5:51 PM


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As long as I'm mea culping... yesterday, I posted a fantastic picture of the Sun showing an enormous arc of material, called a prominence, looping off the Sun. In the post, I mentioned that most of these collapse. But this time, I was wrong: it turns out this one did indeed burst away from the Sun. And you can see it in this animation created from SDO images: WOW. As you can see, the explosion happened away from us, so it doesn't look like we'll be affected by it at all... except, that is, by its utter beauty and mind-crushing size. Remember as you watch that: the Sun is 1.4 million kilometers (860,000 miles) across. When it does something, it does it BIG. Credit: NASA/SDO

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