Solar Storm

On July 14th, 2000, an active region of the sun (called AR9077) produced a massive flare. The event also blasted an enormous cloud of positive-charged particles toward planet Earth, triggering magnetic storms and dramatic auroral displays. This striking close-up of AR9077 was made by the orbiting Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) satellite shortly after the flare erupted. Suspended in an arcade of magnetic loops, the image shows a one million degree hot solar plasma cooling down. Plasma is a gas that has been heated to a state where it contains ions and free-floating electrons. The false-color image covers an expansive 230,000 by 77,000 kilometer area on the Sun’s surface (Earth’s diameter is about 12,800 kilometers) and was recorded in extreme ultraviolet light. Collectively resembling a popular “slinky” toy, the enormous loops are actually magnetic field lines which trap the glowing, cooling plasma above the relatively dark solar surface. After the flare, AR9077’s activity decayed as it was carried farther across the Earth-facing hemisphere of the Sun by solar rotation. Active regions like AR9077 appear as groups of dark sunspots in visible light.

This flare spawned a solar storm that bombarded Earth with a shower of protons, causing scientific and communications satellites to short-circuit. Through a series of chemical reactions in our atmosphere, the protons drastically diminished the upper-most areas of the ozone layer, a protective blanket mostly in the stratosphere that blocks life-threatening ultraviolet radiation from reaching the Earth. This shower of protons, known by solar science insiders as the Bastille Day event, was the third largest of its kind in the last 30 years.

For more information: A Violent Sun Affects Earth’s Ozone

Credit: TRACE/SOHO


Posted 8 months ago with 372 notes
Tagged:Astronomysciencesunsolar stormspaceHeliophysics

  1. 2bears-high5ing reblogged this from backwardsorbust and added:
    The sun is the coolest nuclear explosion ever.
  2. backwardsorbust reblogged this from anthonyplatinumice
  3. anthonyplatinumice reblogged this from jelenati
  4. jelenati reblogged this from spaceplasma
  5. thepandanotes reblogged this from spaceplasma
  6. 1desert-rose reblogged this from thenewenlightenmentage
  7. dj-garv reblogged this from ask-chaoticnote
  8. pragmatic-dude reblogged this from senorpoopiepants
  9. senorpoopiepants reblogged this from pragmatic-dude
  10. subconsciousnonsense reblogged this from rayban-perception
  11. rayban-perception reblogged this from thenewenlightenmentage
  12. radicalserendipityy reblogged this from psychopathsnamedjim
  13. sillylions reblogged this from quantumfawn
  14. mytotallyrandomblog reblogged this from orgasmatr0n
  15. backgrounds-myownprison666 reblogged this from orgasmatr0n
  16. orgasmatr0n reblogged this from quantumfawn
  17. notsobravelittlehobbit reblogged this from quantumfawn
  18. pelfries reblogged this from quantumfawn
  19. gank41 reblogged this from quantumfawn
  20. 2rcash reblogged this from quantumfawn
  21. ilikethings-and-stuff reblogged this from quantumfawn
  22. acedia19 reblogged this from quantumfawn
  23. terminale3 reblogged this from quantumfawn
  24. quantumfawn reblogged this from thenewenlightenmentage
  25. lachuchacuerera reblogged this from barbarodelritmo
  26. gulomean reblogged this from thenewenlightenmentage