Gigantic tornado rages across the sun

Gigantic tornado rages across the sun

By comparison, terrestrial tornadoes typically reach wind speeds of 150 kilometers per hour. Xing li and huw morgan from the university of aberystwyth presented the images from the solar satellite "SDO" at the british-german national astronomy meeting (NAM) in manchester.

In the gigantic storm that "SDO" encountered on september 25. September 2011, 50,000 to 2 million degrees of hot gas swirled along a roughly 200,000-kilometer-long helical line from a so-called prominence high into the sun’s atmosphere. The whirlwind lasted at least three hours. "This is probably the first time such a huge solar tornado has been filmed," li explained in a release from the royal british astronomical society. "Previously much smaller solar tornadoes had been detected by the satellite ‘SOHO’. But they were not filmed."

Astronomers believe it is possible that such tornadoes can trigger so-called eruptions, in which gigantic clouds of light, electrically charged solar matter are hurled into space. These can affect satellites, air traffic and even power lines on earth. "This unique and spectacular tornado must play a role in the draw of global solar storms," morgan is convinced.


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