NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Captures Filament Explosion

filament-eruption-aug-31-2012

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has captured a spectacular video of a filament eruption from Sol, which occurred on August 31st. The segment is in red, and while the video lasts only a few seconds, the actual time period is about three hours.

The rest of the video is shown in extreme ultraviolet light to showcase the explosive event. These kinds of solar filaments are caused when the magnetic field in the solar atmosphere holds solar plasma between the chromosphere into the corona.

extreme-uv-still-solar-flare

Despite what looks like a massive filament explosion, the NOAA spaceweather prediction center expected only a minor to moderate resulting geomagnetic storm when the radiation cloud hit Earth. That happened during the Labor Day holiday (September 3), and it turned out to be an accurate prediction.

The filament came from Sunspot AR1560 and the coronal mass ejection (CME) was a C8-class solar flare, which traveled faster than 500 km/s (1.1 million mph). The cloud wasn’t directly heading towards Earth.

The explosion occurred in Sol’s southeast quadrant. The solar X-Ray flux values almost reached the M-class flare threshold. There could be another M-class flare soon. NOAA/SWPC forecasters that there’s a 40% chance for more flares. The most active sunspots are AR 1560 and AR 1563.

[via Wired]

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