Tsunami on the sun leads to gorgeous aurora

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap061213.html

“Tsunamis this large don’t happen on Earth. One week ago, a large solar flare from an Earth-sized sunspot produced a tsunami-type shock wave that was spectacular even for the Sun. The tsunami wave was captured moving out from active region AR 10930 by the Optical Solar Patrol Network (OSPAN) telescope in New Mexico, USA. The resulting shock wave, known technically as a Moreton wave, compressed and heated up gasses including hydrogen in the photosphere of the Sun, causing a momentarily brighter glow. The above image was taken in a very specific red color emitted exclusively by hydrogen gas. The rampaging tsunami took out some active filaments on the Sun, although many re-established themselves later. The solar tsunami spread at nearly one million kilometers per hour, and circled the entire Sun in a matter of minutes.”


“Last Thursday evening, stars were not the only lights in Iowa skies. Spectacular northern lights also shone from the heavens, extending across the midwestern USA and other locations not often graced with auroral displays.  The wide-ranging auroral activity was triggered as a large solar flare – an energetic cloud of particles blasted outward from the Sun a few days earlier – collided with planet Earth’s magnetosphere. Alerted to conditions ripe for aurora, photographer Stan Richard recorded this apparition over Saylorville Lake, near Des Moines, Iowa, USA. While the colorful rays seem to end just above the water, they are actually at altitudes of 100 kilometers or more.”

Both from the Astronomy Picture Of The Day Archive: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/archivepix.html

Wow.

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About Miss J

Gen-x Australian female - out of my mind and my country. Cast adrift, as it were :) Enjoys: cat-cuddling, books, movies, music, theatre, travel, rpgs, cricket, F1 racing and all things to do with the sea..
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