sSO gives us a look at pair of unusually long filaments on the Sun.
The two most noteworthy features on the sun this week were a pair of elongated filaments (Sept. 8, 2016). The central one was twisted into the shape of an elaborate arch at the center of the sun (yellow arrows). If this were straightened out, it would extend just about across the entire sun, almost a million miles (1.6 million Km). The other, smaller filament, (white arrows) if made straight, might reach about half that distance. Still, pretty impressive. Filaments are elongated strands of plasma suspended above the sun by magnetic forces. They are notoriously unstable and often break apart within a few days. The image was made by combining three images in different wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.
On 02 August 2016 the SDO was witness to a lunar transit. The moon passed between the SDO and the Sun in a transit lasting nearly an hour from 11:13 UTC until 12:08 UTC (07:13 EDT to 8:08 EDT). When the transit over the SDO did not return to science mode.
Returning to science mode wasn’t quite as simple as I thought it would be. Two of the three instruments (the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, or HMI, and the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment, or EVE) were returning data two days later. The A1A instrument came back online and was returning data on 06 August.
There are a few good websites for up to date solar data. Being a ham radio operator I am among a community whose hobby is very dependent on what the Sun is doing. One of the best sites around is from a Canadian Amateur Radio Station VE3EN called SolarHam.
One active region at the edge of the Sun pushed out about ten thrusts of plasma in just over a day long period (July 9-10, 2016). All of them, propelled by magnetic forces, quickly withdrew back into the active region. The images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.
Here is an image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory or SDO and we can see a large sunspot on the left side. Actually this sunspot is many-many times the size of Earth and is rotating left to right so in about a week will be directly facing us and that gives us a possibility of increased solar activity including a CME.
I’m not saying anything much will happen, just that the possibility exists – you never know there could be a great aurora coming.
This illustration lays a depiction of the sun’s magnetic fields over an image captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on March 12, 2016. The complex overlay of lines can teach scientists about the ways the sun’s magnetism changes in response to the constant movement on and inside the sun. Note how the magnetic fields are densest near the bright spots visible on the sun – which are magnetically strong active regions – and many of the field lines link one active region to another.
This magnetic map was created using the PFSS – Potential Field Source Surface – model, a model of the magnetic field in the sun’s atmosphere based on magnetic measurements of the solar surface. The underlying image was taken in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths of 171 angstroms. This type of light is invisible to our eyes, but is colorized here in gold.
Credits: NASA/SDO/AIA/LMSAL/Steele Hill and Sarah Frazier NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
The SDO description: Due to the geometry of Solar Dynamic Observatory’s orbit, there are periods when the spacecraft’s view of the Sun is blocked by the Earth and sometimes the Moon. Starting this earlier this week (video taken on Feb. 22, 2016) and for the next few weeks, the Earth will continue to get in the way once a day around 7:00 UT. This eclipse season occurs twice a year, near the equinoxes. The video covers about 15 minutes as the Sun is becoming unblocked again. The Sun was blocked for close to an hour. Such is life in space 22000 miles above Earth.
The Solar Dynamics Laboratory captured a filament breaking away from the Sun. The image shows the dark filament as it is breaking away. The video’s show the sequence of events, here is a link to the smaller of the two (the larger is at the link below).
A dark and almost circular filament broke away from the Sun in a gauzy, feathery swirl, followed by a second filament eruption that was below it (Nov. 15-16, 2015). Filaments are dark strands of plasma tethered above the Sun’s surface by magnetic forces that over time often become disrupted. The video clip taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light, covers nine hours of activity. Solar astronomers had been watching and chatting about this almost circular filament for several days. The first eruption featured a sizable and mostly dark stream of plasma that twisted away into space.
A small, but complex mass of plasma gyrated and spun about over the course of 40 hours above the surface of the Sun (Sept. 1-3, 2015). It was stretched and pulled back and forth by powerful magnetic forces but not ripped apart in this sequence. The temperature of the ionized iron particles observed in this extreme ultraviolet wavelength of light was about 2.8 million degrees C. (or 5 million degrees F.)