back to article NASA captures mind-bogglingly gorgeous solar video

Last Friday the Sun put on a magnificent display, ejecting a massive solar filament that was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in all its glory. According to NASA's announcement, the filament – a form of solar prominence – had been hovering in the Sun's atmosphere, or corona, since early August, and erupted …

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Anonymous Coward

Wow

The Astronomical Money-Shot?

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Pint

Re: Wow

Definitely money shot...

From what I vaguely remember of relative sizes, even the narrowest bit of that flare has three times the diameter of our little planet..

It's. effin'... HUGE!..

Beer for... well you don't get pics like that often...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wow

CGI could do better...

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Re: Wow

@CGI could do it better

To be honest, when I glanced over the image I just assumed it was the usual 'artists impression' bullshit.. but .. fuck me.. I'd still rather look at the real thing than some 'artists impression' cgi / paint crap..

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(Written by Reg staff)

Awesome

How much energy is needed to get escape velocity for all those megatons of coronal mass? Am feeling even less significant just thinking about it

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Re: Awesome

Unimaginable, I wonder how much energy that mass takes with it through space, at 900 miles per second it must be incredible.

Still, it puts those sneaky two chocolate hobnobs that my GP tells me I shouldn’t have into perspective.

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Re: Awesome

Really awesome images and video. There was a load of activity on September 1 and 2, as seen through my little H-alpha scope (our first-year students had a look and were very impressed). It is of course typical that the best fireworks took place when it was clouded over over here.

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Anonymous Coward

Although it wasn't aimed at Earth...

So what if it had been? Would we all have been burned to a crisp or just soaked in coronal ejaculate?

Any sun scientists around with an answer?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Although it wasn't aimed at Earth...

I'm not a Sun scientist but from what I understand there simply isn't enough energy to fry the Earth from these events (even if it was fired at a direct trajectory to us). Although the numbers sound incredible, by the time it's reached Earth, our magnethosphere is perfectly capable of protecting us (and has done for the last several billion years).

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Ru
Mushroom

Re: Although it wasn't aimed at Earth...

No crispiness would ensue, at least not of the biosphere. The Sun isn't really the right sort of star to do that; the Earth is a pretty long way away, and the ejected plasma is pretty diffuse by the time it reaches us. Big flares can play havoc with sattelites and land-based power grids. I'm too lazy to find out how powerful this flare was in relation to other big 'uns that have actually had bad effects on Earth, however.

Have a read up on the Carrington Event or the 1989 geomagnetic storm for what happens when a really big CME hits the Earth.

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JDX
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Aurora Question

To those that have seen it, does it ever really look like that photo or is that massively post-processed and filtered from a much more wishy-washy real-life version?

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Re: Aurora Question

@JDX

Yes, it really can look like that, but you have to be lucky to catch it on a good night - most of the time it's a lot less garish - although still impressive.

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It really looks like that

for the 500 milliseconds before your eyes fry.

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Re: It really looks like that

JDX was asking about the Aurora, not the coronal ejection...

I don't think the Aurora has ever fried anybody's eyeballs.

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Re: Aurora Question

Might look wishy washy because of the exposure timing? To allow for more light to get in (brighter image), the exposure might be high, so some movement and colour change was accidentally captured. Thus blurring/smudging and blending of the colours in the image.

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Re: Aurora Question

I don't know - but regardless it makes me wish I lived further north!

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Re: It really looks like that

And then the triffids come...

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1/2 a million miles

That little lick you're looking at is 2x the Earth Moon separation.

It's pretty impressive.

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Wow.

I for one like our atmosphere that little bit more. (Well the resistant / defensive qualities it has)

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New desktop image

Thanks for that :)

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Is it just me or do NASA seem to be on a bit of a roll at the min? Some amazing images from some amazing science - shame school science lessons are not based around things like this!

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Unhappy

It's not just you

NASA are on an amazing roll at the moment. Which is probably why they are having their budget repeatedly slashed. :(

Hopefully their current awesome escapades will inspire a few more of our kids to give second thoughts to taking Golf Course Management and the like, and get into science.

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Anonymous Coward

Today

is also the anniversary of the launch of Voyager 1.

I know it's not Star Trek but I think it is great to be alive at this time in history and see these things

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Whoa!

That's gotta hurt!

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Sir

Just been reading a good book that mentions coronal flares and how if you could hang the Earth from a thread from the top of the arch it would look like a little Christmas bauble :)

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Pint

Ah, Rik - if only more of your «(tax) money» could be devoted to splendid things like the SDO

and less to mass murder around the world !...

Henri

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Indeed

Why does a country that is 3,000 miles from anywhere feel the need to spend* more on "defense" that the rest of the world put together, and then some ? Yet at the same time they manage to spare a few (relative) coppers to produce this amazing stuff. A place of paradoxes for sure.

* yes I know it's because it's an "industry" and they don't know any better what to do with their time/money ... there's the rub

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Indeed

"Why does a country that is 3,000 miles from anywhere feel the need to spend* more on "defense" that the rest of the world put together, and then some ?" -- They've created many more enemies than the rest of the world.

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Facepalm

Re: Indeed

They're zero miles from Canada and Mexico!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Indeed

"They've created many more enemies than the rest of the world."

Envy is a powerful and destructive emotion

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Joke

Nice special fx,...

has someone slipped some "slo-mo" from the latest dredd film into my diet coke?

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Mushroom

America bashing

Even though we are a young nation, we have read history. "If you want peace, prepare for war." and "Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who do not." If you will notice, those nations which consider themselves our "enemies" are the nations that treat their people the worst - North Korea and Iran come to mind. Neither one of those places has people risking their lives to get in, most of the time they risk their lives to get OUT. Your own James Fallows said it well, "If America were set on world domination and conquest, it would be over in a week, and they would win, utterly." (Thank you, James.) We aren't, we are SLOW to go to war, we are RELUCTANT to go to war (political noises notwithstanding), but when we DO decide to go to war, we go in to WIN. (Yes, we did learn from our southeast Asia fiasco of the 60s and 70s).

Some people may not like us (and sometimes we could stand to work on being a little more likeable), but we are NOT malicious, and we are by FAR the least worst candidate to have the biggest military in the world. Can you imagine if someone like Mugabe or Assad were "King of the roost"? Do you like China's record on human rights or the environment? What about Uncle Vlad's? One of the worst "America Haters", Noam Chomsky, is alive and well in New York, where he even has police protection! In many, many, many other countries he would have been executed long ago.

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Re: America bashing

Although I fail to see the connection with awesome images of solar flares I'm going to up this.

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Re: America bashing

SCM - The connection was that some posters complained previously that the US should be spending a lot more on NASA and a lot less on making enemies around the world. I happen to agree with that, but unfortunately reality (and often international politics) intrudes on that . . .

Thank you and best regards.

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Re: America bashing

Well said Miami Mike, and I assure you not all us Europeans think badly of the USA. Just too many loud ones.

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Boffin

Re: America bashing

If you don't want us to go to war any more, simply stop lending us the money to do so. Please.

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Re: America bashing

Before you start harping on about how other nations treat their populous badly, maybe you should consider who it is that has the highest proportion of their people in prison? Not that I'm saying places like North Korea and Iran are likely to be idyllic to live in, but there is also an adage about glass houses and throwing stones that comes to mind.

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Re: America bashing

Bizarrely - every individual American I've personally met, or spoken to, has been lovely ... and yet AMERICA still gives me the heebie jeebies, to borrow a phrase ;)

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FAIL

> Your own James Fallows said it well, "If America were set on world domination and conquest, it would be over in a week, and they would win, utterly."

Sorry, I call bollocks to that. It is a straw man argument, but I'll come back to that, shortly.

It also depends on what you mean by "domination". If you mean destruction, then I think there might be a few other candidates for that title. If you mean the overthrow of governments and the whipping of their peoples into slavery, I think the lessons of Vietnam prove that to be a nonsense.

In all practical ways, world domination is a fantasy.

But as I said above, a total straw man argument. Most of the bad feeling against the US is actually about their government's hypocricy with how they deal with the rest of the world. On the one hand, we have the "benevolent" US, the one that wants to free peoples and give them their liberty from oppression. That's a laudable aim. On the other hand, everyone knows that the US's main motivation behind these grand gestures is actually oil and control of other resources important to the US, and political manipulation of foreign governments to those ends.

I think the US government would have a little more respect (not a lot more, a little more) if they were a bit more open about their real motivations. After all, protecting your country's interests abroad is actually one of the most important and legitimate roles for government. Why be so secretive about it?

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Actually, we are in agreement . . .

Of course physical world domination is an impossible fantasy - but that doesn't stop various religious groups and aggressive nations from trying it anyway. I am glad (and a rather thankful) that the US has never overtly decided to "rule the world" either by military means or other (economic, cultural) means. The US certainly does have a huge influence (like the understatement?) in world affairs, but that is the result of various accidents of history, not of a pre-planned deliberate policy. We developed our military primarily for self defense, and after the collapse of the major threat (the old Soviet Union), we were left as the only remaining military superpower. Being a wealthy country doesn't hurt, either.

Being "benevolent", concerned with freedom, and resource control/political manipulation of foreign governments are not incompatible activities. We'd like North Koreans to be free - and they have no resources whatsoever. All governments seek control of resources and manipulate (or attempt to manipulate) other governments, that's what governments do. Look at China, they are buying their way into Africa looking for resources, and they couldn't care less about human rights as they do it. Is their way, openly cynical, preferable to our way, in which we actually decline to do business with nasty regimes? We're getting ready to stop buying Tantalum (for capacitors, that's the IT angle) from several repressive third world countries because they abuse and exploit their people.

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Re: Actually, we are in agreement . . .

" preferable to our way, in which we actually decline to do business with nasty regimes?"

Erm, dont most American tech companies use cheap (and sometimes forced) Chinese labour to make their shiny things?

China isnt exactly a bed of roses where human rights are concerned.

Just saying.......

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Big Brother

In all practical ways, world domination is a fantasy.

Unless your surname is Rothschild .

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Time Lapse?

So the video is not CGI but its not realtime is it? After all the CME seems to cover a sizable proportion of the suns diameter in a second or less which would put it at relativistic speeds. Anyone find reference to how speeded up the video is?

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Re: Time Lapse?

pretty sure there is a clock in the bottom of the video giving the time lapses

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Facepalm

Re: Re: Time Lapse?

Yep, sure is, can't miss it !

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FAIL

Re: Time Lapse?

My Bad. Should open my damn eyes.

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