Published On: Thu, Aug 4th, 2011

Move over global warming: Solar Twister spotted from Sun

NASA: An enormous plasma twister rising from the sun’s surface has been caught on video by a Nasa satellite.

And the twirling eruption, which swirled up to 93,206 miles above the solar surface, has a remarkable resemblance to an angel.

The tornado-like solar twister lasted just a few hours, when an eruption of magnetic plasma, called a prominence, whirled up from the sun before splitting into four different strands and fading away.

Solar astrophysicist, C. Alex Young of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, told Space.com: ‘Its height is roughly between 10 to 12 Earths’.

The magnificent display happened on July 12 and Mr Young said that the angel-like formation was down to a matter of perspective.

The video, taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, caught the eruption from an angle that saw the prominence’s rise up from the solar surface.

But from a different angle, the observatory could have seen the whole prominence rise from the surface of the sun, loop over and then close again.

Mr Young said: ‘It would probably look much more normal, like a loop … kind of fill up like a loop and then fall back down.
‘It’s not uncommon that we see this kind of helical-twisting structure.

‘It’s kind of like having rubber bands and you’re twisting them, and they sort of bunch up and get knotted.
‘The same thing is happening in the sun’s magnetic field.’


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