Huge Solar Filament Stretches Across the Sun

by Nancy Atkinson on August 6, 2012

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

Caption: High resolution full disc hydrogen alpha composite of the Sun on August 5, 2012, comprising of 6 images for the disc and 5 images for the prominences.Credit: Paul Andrew on Flickr.

The Sun wanted to let us know there was action going on in other places in the Solar System besides Mars. A huge, dark-colored filament stretched across nearly half the solar face on August 5th. Estimates are this filament was about 800,000 km in length! Wow! Paul Andrew took six images to create a composite, full image of the Sun, and below is an 11-panel mosaic by Leonard Mercer from Malta to show the surrounding region with the main sunspots 1535, 1538, 1540 present.


Caption: Credit: 11 images combined to create this view of a large filament on the Sun. Credit: Leonard Mercer.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Kevin Frushour August 6, 2012 at 11:57 PM

*Deep in Curiosity coverage*

Huh? The what? Oh, the sun. Yep, cool!

*Back to Curiosity stuff*
:)

The Latinist August 7, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Wouldn’t 800,000 km make it the longest filament on record?

JonHanford August 7, 2012 at 4:34 PM

I believe the current record-holder is this 700,000 km filament seen in 2010: http://geeked.gsfc.nasa.gov/?p=4465

If so, I think you might be right.

kkt August 7, 2012 at 3:37 AM

Looks like a hair across the eyepiece of the scope…

Aqua4U August 7, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Bang! BOOM! Mr. Sol is only just starting to act out as we approach Solar Max… I’ll be watching! Am SO glad Curiosity will be monitoring this radiation too. Data from the cruise phase should prove invaluable…

rkeen78 August 8, 2012 at 3:33 AM

All of the scales are wrong in that picture, both in size and distance. The moon isn’t even a pixel when compared to an earth that size. In addition, the distance from the earth to the moon is about 239,000 miles on average, and the diameter of the sun is 865,000 miles. So the distance from the earth to the moon is about 27% the diameter of the sun. Last, if that filament is 500,000 miles long, it should reach across 60% of the diameter of the sun. The curvature of the sun might explain that, but even that looks short. In other words, everything about this picture is wrong, and the length of the filament appears overstated.

rkeen78 August 8, 2012 at 3:43 AM

Here is the proper scale of the earth and the moon:

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: