5:36pm

Sun June 12, 2011
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Sun Explodes. Again

Just a few days ago the Sun lit off an amazing eruption on its surface. While these kinds of things happen all the time, this event was particularly breathtaking. Above is a video from The Sun Today that offers some nice narration of the event. Below, also from the Sun Today, is a concise description of what you are seeing,

The solar flare occurs at the very beginning of the event and is just the brief bright flash. The flare itself is not that big, or unusual. There is a loop of dark material that rises and expands; this is the filament eruption. You can see that the material rises up, and then falls back down over a wide area of the Sun, almost half the diameter of the Sun; it is unusual to see the material splash back down over such a wide area. The material is falling back down along invisible magnetic field lines, and is not simply falling straight down due to gravity.

Stars are violent beasts.

By the way, I love the idea of a website called The Sun Today. Perhaps we should get daily new from all the planets: The Neptune News; The Jovian Afternoon Post, Mars Morning News...

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.