Solar tornado five times the size of the Earth

This enormous tornado erupting from the surface of the sun is big enough to swallow the Earth. In fact, it could swallow five Earths.

Discovered using NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory satellite, this colossal twisting mass is made up of superheated gas at a temperature of between 90,000 and 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit.

Over the course of three hours, this behemoth reached up from the sun’s surface to a height of 125,000 miles, or roughly half the distance between the Earth and the moon. The hot gases were whipped up to nearly 186,000 miles per hour. In comparison, the wind speed of terrestrial tornadoes generally reaches a paltry 100 miles per hour.

Scientists have previously seen smaller solar tornadoes with other sun-observing satellites but this one — spotted in September 2011 — is thought to be the first one ever filmed. Since then, researchers have seen at least one more solar tornado, an Earth-sized twister.

These tornadoes often precede events known as coronal mass ejections — huge eruptions of charged particles that blast out of the sun’s surface with tremendous energy.  Such flare-ups are thought to be related to interactions among the sun’s magnetic field lines, whose corkscrewing movements also shape the solar tornado.

Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA/Aberystwyth University/Li/Morgan/Leonard


Posted 11 months ago with 6,195 notes
Tagged:solar tornadoscienceHeliophysicsAstronomyspacesun

  1. learningclarinet reblogged this from perpetual-loser
  2. pissphobia reblogged this from spaceplasma
  3. shellofspirits reblogged this from stardustkin
  4. thesomewhatalrightgatsby reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  5. thepiefairy reblogged this from skadichan
  6. maplespice reblogged this from shounenlink
  7. phransisco reblogged this from judithestelle
  8. pixelatednightloxx reblogged this from yourgaythoughts
  9. pinatass reblogged this from onehungrymoose
  10. onehungrymoose reblogged this from judithestelle
  11. yourgaythoughts reblogged this from judithestelle
  12. judithestelle reblogged this from animecartoon-baransu
  13. princessofdragons reblogged this from shounenlink
  14. swarbie reblogged this from skulltrip
  15. acolderindigo reblogged this from emeralddragon88
  16. rud-exe reblogged this from skulltrip
  17. skulltrip reblogged this from emeralddragon88
  18. emeralddragon88 reblogged this from perpetual-loser
  19. exploitingambiguities reblogged this from skadichan
  20. animecartoon-baransu reblogged this from skadichan
  21. skadichan reblogged this from cacafueg0
  22. diebycrowbar reblogged this from inkpet
  23. cacafueg0 reblogged this from inkpet
  24. inkpet reblogged this from naito-rei
  25. paulfranksbestfriend reblogged this from battlestar-venus
  26. nothingmorethanstardust reblogged this from horcrux-of-the-superwholocked
  27. yungpastasauce reblogged this from perpetual-loser
  28. dea-ex-draconis reblogged this from horcrux-of-the-superwholocked