Scientists Spot 'Tsunami' on the Sun
2006 12 10

By Robert Roy Britt | space.com

A major flare on the Sun earlier this week generated what scientists are calling a solar tsunami.

The tsunami-like shock wave, formally called a Moreton wave, rolled across the hot surface, destroying two visible filaments of cool gas on opposite sides of the visible face of the Sun.

Astronomers using a prototype of a new solar telescope in New Mexico recorded the action.

"These large scale 'blast' waves occur infrequently, however, are very powerful," said K. S. Balasubramaniam of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Sunspot, NM, "They quickly propagate in a matter of minutes covering the whole Sun, sweeping away filamentary material."

It is unusual to see such an event from a ground-based observatory, Balasubramaniam said. And it was also unusual that it occurred near solar minimum, when the Sun is at its least active during an 11-year cycle.

But solar activity can come at any time. Flares like this one are spawned by sunspots, which are dark, cool regions that cap magnetic activity below. When the caps pop, colossal doses of superheated matter and radiation are unleashed.

Sunspot 929 began kicking up flares Tuesday, when a major X-9 event was detected by a space-based observatory.

When another flare erupted Wednesday, the NSO's Optical Solar Patrol Network (OSPAN) was watching.

A shock wave propagated like the splash from a rock thrown into a pond. This was seen as a brightening from compressed and heated hydrogen gas. Astronomers enhanced the contrast of the images to bring out the detail, and they created an animation of the event.

Later, the shock wave swept across two dark filaments widely seprated on the solar surface, and they disappeared for a few minutes. Scientists are unsure whether the filaments were blown off or were compressed so they were temporarily invisible, according to an NSO statement.

Forecasters say there is a 40 percent chance of more major flares through this weekend. Skywatchers in Alaska, Canada and the very northernmost United States should be on the lookout for colorful Northern Lights generated by the space storminess.

Article from: http://space.com/scienceastronomy/061208_solar_tsunami.html



Related Articles
Backward Sunspot - New Solar Cycle to Begin
Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high
Sun's next 11-year cycle could be 50% stronger
Sunspots more active than for 8000 years
Ring-shaped Sunspot


Latest News from our Front Page

Hungary’s Orban Bashes Liberal Immigration Policy
2014 08 29
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday lashed out against immigration, setting one of the main policy objectives of his next term in power after winning parliamentary elections in April. “The goal is to cease immigration whatsoever,” said Hungary’s prime minister. “I think the current liberal immigration policy, which is considered obvious and morally based, is hypocrite,” Mr. Orban said. At a ...
China’s “Duplitecture” Cities Mimic the World’s Greatest Architectural Hits
2014 08 29
The best knockoffs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes, but China’s knockoffs go way beyond fashion. There are knockoff Apple stores that look so much like the real thing that some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores. And then there are entire knockoff cities. There are Venices with ...
Kiev loses control of Novoazovsk, rebel troops advance in southeast Ukraine
2014 08 29
Kiev’s troops had to leave the eastern Ukrainian city of Novoazovsk to save their lives, said the country’s Security and Defense Council. The authorities admitted that self-defense forces are advancing and leading a counteroffensive in the southeast. Along with Novoazovsk, Kiev troops have lost control over the villages of Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo in the Donetsk Region of Eastern Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s ...
Mohammed is most popular name in Oslo
2014 08 29
For the first time in the capital city’s history, Mohammed is the most common name for boys and men, said a study on Thursday. Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå - SSB) has counted the population of Oslo and found that Mohammed is the most common male name in Oslo for the first time ever. Jørgen Ouren of SSB said to NRK: “It is ...
Beaten to Death at McDonald’s
2014 08 29
To the four clean-cut college freshman out on a double date, it had seemed like a typical McDonald’s: spanking clean, well-lighted, and safe. It was in a good neighborhood too, right next to Texas A&M University in College Station -- a campus known for its friendly atmosphere and official down-home greeting: “howdy.” Shortly after 2 A.M. that Sunday, they pulled into ...
More News »