Big Blast from the Sun

by Nancy Atkinson on April 16, 2012

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The CME we reported on earlier today was obviously just a warm up to the latest blast: A beautiful prominence eruption producing a larger CME off the east limb (left side) of the sun on April 16, 2012 at about 17:45 UTC (1:45 pm EDT). The event, which also produced an M1.7-class solar flare, was not Earth-directed, say scientists from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. But SpaceWeather.com says the blast confirms suspicions that a significant active region is rotating onto the Earth-side of the sun.

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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.

Doug Hill April 16, 2012 at 11:12 PM

how large, compared to Earth was that blast?

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE April 17, 2012 at 2:48 AM

This article (click on the image there to embiggen) should give you some idea.

Olaf2 April 18, 2012 at 5:23 PM

You should also ask yourself how dense that cloud is and if you! shrink it to the size of Earth’s density how big that ball would be. ;-)

The results are shocking!

Kael Tsarvek Alani April 17, 2012 at 3:22 AM

Truly One Heavenly Source and Body of Light

Raghu Parandhaman April 17, 2012 at 7:37 AM

We can observe that a few seconds after the blast there is material falling back to the sun surface. I wonder if it is only the gravity fall or is there also a vacuum suction created due to the blast.

More than all, it is a view indeed!!! Thanks ;-))

WaxyMary April 17, 2012 at 3:46 PM

That ‘pull’ looks to be magnetic in origin, rather than the result of a vacuum. The interplay of magnetic forces at the near surface and above the Sun’s corona – magnetic recombination or is it re-connection, my brain is fuzzy from the flu here, is what is responsible for much of what you see in these pictures. That is what lofts the material to become CME, that too is what ‘super’ heats and stirs the mixture.

Mary

Tony Power April 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Just out of curiosity, what would one of these do if they were directed at us? not one like this necessarily, but maybe a really big one. We’ve all heard from the doomsayers about how the power grid will collapse due to all the blown transformers and such due to induced current and such, but transformers have fuses, I know they do, the transformer down the street, the one that supplies most of my suburb blew a fuse a few months ago when a, well they don’t know what it was, because there wasn’t enough left of it, got inside and shorted it. All they did was use one of the big orange poles, pull the blown fuse out and put a new one in, and the power came back on. Wouldn’t that same system protect them? Or is the induced current similar in magnitude to a lightning strike and able to ark across the terminals in the fuse? Or is there a damage that I’m overlooking? Also, would a standalone solar system be immune? I know they aren’t connected to the grid so won’t get the surge that way, but I have worked with solar panels and know that there is a lot of very thin tracks in the cells themselves, would these cause enough of an induced current to blow the system, or at least the diodes in the individual panels?

Olaf2 April 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Only that you will have beautiful Northern lights.

And since the power grid and satellite operators already got bombarded a few times the last year, they have enough experience to handle it by now.

Olaf2 April 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Only that you will have beautiful Northern lights.

And since the power grid and satellite operators already got bombarded a few times the last year, they have enough experience to handle it by now.

squidgeny April 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM

We’ve all heard from the doomsayers about how the power grid will collapse due to all the blown transformers and such due to induced current and such, but transformers have fuses

I’m no electrical engineer so I’m guessing here. The fuses blow when too much current goes through and they melt (or explode) – I’m guessing the fear is that enough current could be induced to melt other wiring outside the fuse box, which wouldn’t be so easy to fix. However I don’t know if such a thing is possible after the fuse has gone and circuit has broken.

If I had to put money on it, I’d say the doomsayers are full of crap ;)

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