My favorite star, our very own Sun, has a multitude of spectacular features she shows off with grandeur. In fact, the Sun was the subject of my thesis and so she is extra special to me.
When you think about all the billions and billions of stars out there in the vast universe, we are very lucky to live so close to one of them. This ball of fire, an electromagnetic plasma wonderland, is still quite a mystery to us. With the help of the likes of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) we keep adding new information and perhaps understanding to our knowledge capital. I like to think so.
The phenomena - or feature - the Sun showcased in July 2012 is an eruptive corona mass ejection (CME) that was captured in looping magnetic fields. Some call it Coronal rain. CME is thrown towards the Earth from time to time and creates what we call the solar wind. We can see the solar wind in form of aurora's at both poles. When the wind is strong (large ejection directed more or less directly towards the Earth) it can knock out powergrids and GPS satellites etc. As a consequence of the potential damage to our infrastructure we are developing more and more sophisticated space weather forecasts.
Coronal rain or coronal mass ejection (CME) captured in magnetic loops. Credit: NASA
I have stopped counting how many times I've seen this video. I am not sure I am so happy with the music, but it is tolerable.
This series - Saturday in Space - will feature the Sun more than once. Rest assured.
I am an astrophysicist that never fell out of love with
space. Although I focus on planet Earth these days I try my best to stay updated in the field I identify the
strongest with, astrophysics. Saturday in Space was created because I wanted to share some of my favorite space related
images. Sometimes I just enjoy the beauty of these images,
sometimes I read more about the science behind it. It is up to you what
you would like to do. Enjoy either way!
Saturday in Space: Solar Coronal Rain