The Sciences

With Frantic Splurts and Splats, the Sun Goes All Spasmodic

ImaGeo iconImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanApr 30, 2014 12:47 AM

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NASA posted this video today of the Sun, and I just had to share it. After watching it, I'm thinking the Sun needs to chill a bit. Okay, on second thought, maybe that's a bad idea...

An active region on the Sun. (Source: SDO/NASA) In all seriousness, this video of the Sun going all spasmodic consists of images taken in extreme ultraviolet light by the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows an active region — an area where the sun's magnetic field is particularly strong — spurting and erupting over the course of two and a half days, starting in April 19. Active regions frequently produce solar flares and coronal mass ejections. (For a closeup still image of the frantic activity, click on the thumbnail at right.) As NASA puts it, "All of the activity near this region was caused by intense magnetic forces in a powerful struggling with each other." I would have said "struggle," but I don't know. Maybe "struggling" conveys the freneticism even better.

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