Skip to content

Monster Waves on the Sun are Real

November 30, 2009
clipped from science.nasa.gov
Years
ago, when solar physicists first witnessed a towering wave
of hot plasma racing along the sun’s surface, they doubted
their senses. The scale of the thing was staggering. It rose
up higher than Earth itself and rippled out from a central
point in a circular pattern millions of kilometers in circumference.
Skeptical observers suggested it might be a shadow of some
kind—a trick of the eye—but surely not a real wave.
“Now
we know,” says Joe Gurman of the Solar Physics Lab at
the Goddard Space Flight Center. “Solar tsunamis are
real.”
The
twin STEREO spacecraft confirmed their reality in February
2009 when sunspot 11012 unexpectedly erupted. The blast hurled
a billion-ton cloud of gas (a “CME”) into space
and sent a tsunami racing along the sun’s surface. STEREO
recorded the wave from two positions separated by 90o, giving
researchers an unprecedented view of the event:

see caption

A solar tsunami seen by the STEREO spacecraft from orthogonal
points of view
  blog it
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: