Video: Dancing Spiral Magnetic Loops on the Sun

by Nancy Atkinson on April 10, 2011

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Cascades of spiraling magnetic loops observed in extreme ultraviolet light by Solar Dynamics Observatory danced and twisted above an active region on the Sun recently (April 3-5, 2011). These loops are charged particles spinning along the magnetic field lines. The bright active region was fairly strong and the activity persistent, though not explosive. At one point darker plasma can be seen being pulled back and forth across the region’s center.

Source: Solar Dynamics Observatory

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Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Aqua April 11, 2011 at 5:34 PM

WOWie! I can never get enough SDO imagery! Its fascinating to watch how the magnetic fields confine the explosively eruptive plasmas. Being able to see the toroidal shapes hinted at in the 3D structures just below the surface and the interaction between those active regions will be key. Overlaying helioseismology data in real time might reveal more of the overall subsurface convective motions as tied to the mag. fields?

Aqua April 11, 2011 at 5:56 PM
Olaf April 11, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Oh boy I see “the” keywords. I expect a big discussion again.

But the solar images are spectacular.
I see the sun rotating, so I expect this to be speeded up?

DrFlimmer April 11, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Of course. Such “normal” events on the sun take a much longer period of time than, say, flares.

One “sun-day” takes about 28 days on average (depends also on the latitude).

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