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5 Million Degree Plasma Tornado Rips Across the Sun

9 Sep 2015, 5:25 pm

sun tornado NASAAccording to NASA: A small, but complex mass of plasma gyrated and spun about over the course of 40 hours above the surface of the Sun (Sept. 1-3, 2015). It was stretched and pulled back and forth by powerful magnetic forces but not ripped apart in this sequence. The temperature of the ionized iron particles observed in this extreme ultraviolet wavelength of light was about 2.8 million degrees C. (or 5 million degrees F.)

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is a NASA mission which has been observing the Sun. Launched on February 11, 2010, the observatory is part of the Living With a Star (LWS) program. The goal of the LWS program is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to effectively address those aspects of the connected Sun–Earth system directly affecting life and society. The goal of the SDO is to understand the influence of the Sun on the Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously. SDO has been investigating how the Sun’s magnetic field is generated and structured, how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.

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Headline image & video: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA

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