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    Saturday in Space: Solar Coronal Rain
    By Bente Lilja Bye | February 23rd 2013 08:59 AM | 20 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Bente Lilja

    Earth science expert and astrophysicist writes about Earth observation, geodesy, climate change, geohazards, water cycle and other science related...

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    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!

    Comments

    I have heard that the sun is made up of Hydrogen or Helium I'm not sure. Which is it? And what other elements are in its make up? How do we know? I have heard of the spectrum analyzer that is studying the sun. Where can I gain access to its findings? Is there any relation to what us humans are doing with Hydrogen generators and what is happening on the Sun? Given the electromagnetic properties that we are witnessing.
    My thought after watching this video is as the coronal mass grows it looks to me to form sphere that the earth would fit into. Like our own magnetosphere. It makes me wonder what the magnetic properties might be inside that sphere. Is there polar properties? As the spherical coronal mass ruptures and releases its energy, at what point does that energy lose enough speed or energy to reform into a sphere. Or like a the ripples from a stone tossed into a pond, keep going to the edges of the pond / solar system?
    GOD BLESS,
    ttimmyown

    Mostly Hydrogen (currently ~75%), as that is the fuel for it being a star. Over time this hydrogen fuses into Helium (currently ~25%), through nuclear fusion -- this process is what makes it a star.

    Wikipedia is a good source for such info, or at least references to other sources. Here is the entry for the Sun:
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun

    Stellare
    Thanks for helping out! :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Stellare
    That was quite a question bomb you dropped on me there! :-) I see that you have gotten partly an answer below here. Answering all your question properly requires a whole series of lectures and I am afraid that is not doable within my schedule.

    However, I can point you to some sources that I think should be helpful. This should lead you on:

    NASA Heliophysics pages: http://science.nasa.gov/heliophysics/

    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    MikeCrow
    She is a pretty star, and you can spend time with her in your corona scope during the day, as opposed to the more distant beauties being limited to cold nights.
    When I see posts like this, it makes me want to but a corona scope, cause you can't work on your tan at night.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    ...cause you can't work on your tan at night.
    Work?  I just go outside, and it seems like the sun [and my skin] do all the work :)
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Why do I find it hard to picture you outside and not working?
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Are you kidding?  My life consists of sitting in a lawn chair, with dogs bringing my cool drinks and the horses trained to stand in such a way as to keep the sun out of my eyes [they are free to graze].

    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    I bet you could make a good living renting them out on the beach. Of course you'd have to bring food for the horses, eating your profits.
    Never is a long time.
    How did you figure that the Sun is a she?!

    Stellare
    Why wouldn't she be? ;-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    vongehr
    Because the ideal language, German, tells us so: "Die Sonne" (not "Der Sonne")!
    Anyway - coronal rain - rainy yet totally sunny at the same time - the magic of science. ;-) 
    Because the ideal language, German, tells us so: "Die Sonne" (not "Der Sonne")!
    The superior language, English, does not assign gender to inanimate objects. :)





    Gerhard Adam
    The superior language, English, does not assign gender to inanimate objects. :)
    Undoubtedly a major reason why it appears that many English-speaking individuals don't seem to know what they are talking about :)

    NOTE:  In the interest of full disclosure, I was born in Germany, so my native language is German albeit as a child.
    Mundus vult decipi
    For full disclosure I spoke an Italian dialect and French exclusively until the age of 8 when I discovered and fell in love with English, which, aside from avoiding gender issues, has far less irregular verbs and is more concise than French or Italian. 
     

    Hank
    No one is concise like Bavarians. They use one word that is supposed to mean all this stuff. 
    Stellare
    Let me join in this language discussion. :-)

    Norwegian is said to be one of the foundations for English. It is referred to particularly the structure of sentences if I recollect correctly. The research was published some time before Christmas, I think. :-)

    Other than that (meta superiority of Norwegian): Norway is known for equality (we are all equally rich hahaha - feel free to puke). It, the gender of the Sun, could be deeply founded in our culture and thus reflected in our language. You see, The Sun can have both sexes in Norwegian En sol (masculine)  or ei sol (feminine). The same goes for a star by the way. En stjerne or ei stjerne. We can choose. Obviously I choose ei sol and call her (the Sun) my favorite star. :-) Honestly, the Her is chosen because I gave this celestial object a personality. Since I studied it so closely it became a dear subject (rather than an object) to me. haha

    And the Sun is mine. My precious...
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    MikeCrow
    The best excuse I'm willing to find, "Rounded objects are female while sharp ones are male."
    Never is a long time.
    But there are exceptions---there's un ballon, which is pretty round to me and une aiguille (needle).
    MikeCrow
    There are a lot of exception, and the origins of why ships were usually given female names isn't clear. But they(the page or two I read) think that's why cars and such were named the same way now.
    Never is a long time.