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Sun Tsunami

December 5, 2009
clipped from

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Blue ''Crab,'' Sun Tsunami, More

November 19, 2009–Solar tsunamis are real, say astronomers who caught the first three-dimensional pictures of a giant wave rippling across the sun. Solar physicists first saw evidence for such waves in satellite pictures of the sun taken in 1996 (pictured), but many doubted that anything of the suggested scale could really exist.
Now the twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft have captured an unprecedented view of a solar tsunami triggered by a sunspot explosion in February. The massive wave rose more than 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) high, raced outward at 560,000 miles (901,000 kilometers) an hour, and packed as much energy as 2,400 megatons of TNT.
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