April 1, 2013 Issue

Physics To Go 134 - Solar Eruptions

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Physics in Your World

Sun image
image credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA; image source; larger image


You are looking at the sun, imaged in extreme ultraviolet light (invisible to us) and shown in false color. To learn more about the sun, visit this this National Geographic article, and also this Hyperphysics page.

Notice how irregular the edge of the sun looks. Hot matter streams from the surface and returns, or occasionally some breaks off and heads out into the solar system. See From Physics Research for more information on this matter and how it moves.

This image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on March 26, 2013.

(This feature was updated on April 9, 2013.)

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Physics at Home

Earth Observatory: Solar Prominence

Visit Earth Observatory: Solar Prominence, and take a look at these two images of a solar prominence. How does a prominence look when you see it at the sun itself, compared when you see it against the darkness of space? When you see the prominence against the sun, it's usually called a "filament." To learn more, read the text under the images.


From Physics Research

Solar Flares--Solar Prominences image
image credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA; image source; larger image

Solar Flares--Solar Prominences

This image of a solar prominence was captured in extreme ultraviolet light on December 31, 2012. The prominence is ionized gas--charged particles, with electrons stripped from atoms, which move due to forces from magnetic fields.

To learn more about solar prominences, visit Solar Flares--Solar Prominences.

To see a different solar prominence, with an image of Earth added to show the scale, click here.

Worth a Look

Sol Station: Sol

To understand the source of the sun's energy, visit The Sun's Structure and Nuclear Fusion. For much more detail, see Sol Station: Sol.

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