Yikes! Not to be outdone by the Blue Moon, the Sun had some impressive action on August 31, 2012 as well. A solar filament collapsed and and exploded, and the Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the action in dramatic detail. The view in extreme ultraviolet light is simply jaw-dropping! The segment in the 304 angstroms wavelength (where the Sun looks red) covers almost 3 hours of elapsed time.
The SDO team says that long filaments like this one have been known to collapse with explosive results when they hit the stellar surface below. According to SpaceWeather.com, the CME propelled by the blast might deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field in the days ahead.
The image above includes an image of Earth to show the size of the CME compared to the size of Earth. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO
Screen grab from the video showing the view in extreme ultraviolet light. Credit: SDO
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.