ESA releases spectacular video of our sun

ESA releases spectacular video of our sun
ESA releases spectacular video of our sun

When you think of the sun, you probably think of a large flaming, red-hot sphere, but there is much more to see on the surface of that celestial body that illuminates and warms the earth every day. According to a unique video from ESA, it looks more like a kind of yellowish lawn with fluffy feathers.

The images were taken on September 27 last year by the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter at about a third of the distance between Earth and the sun. This makes the hair-like structures clearly visible. They are made of plasma (a stream of charged gas particles) and follow the lines of the magnetic field in the Sun’s lower atmosphere where it merges into the much hotter outer corona. The brightest parts are as much as 1 million degrees Celsius. Cooler regions appear darker because they absorb radiation.

You can watch the video below. There are things to see that you have never seen before, such as corona moss, spicules and corona rain.

That probably doesn’t mean much to you. The corona is the hot atmosphere around the sun (and other stars) that can extend for millions of kilometers. Normally he is invisible. You can only see this halo of light during a solar eclipse. The corona is hotter than the surface of the sun itself. The so-called photosphere (the deepest layer of a star’s atmosphere) is over 5700 degrees, while the corona reaches almost a million degrees. How this is possible was a mystery for a long time. The corona may draw energy from magnetic fields in the more active parts of the sun, which emit energy.

Fluffy ball
The corona moss gives the sun its fluffy look. It somewhat resembles the moss on Earth, hence the name. On the sun, you won’t find it in the forest, but around the center of sunspot groups, where the magnetic fields are strongest. The moss is so hot that most instruments cannot detect it and it resides in two atmospheric layers, the chromosphere (the layer between the photosphere and the corona) and the corona.

Spicules are a type of tall pillars of gas that can be seen on the horizon, rising from the Sun’s chromosphere. They can reach heights of up to 10,000 kilometers and are often located near sunspots. But as with everything you see on the sun, these spicules are enormous. They have a diameter of several hundred to thousands of kilometers and shoot up at speeds of up to 70,000 kilometers per hour.

Corona rain
In the video you also see corona rain around the thirtieth second. At less than 10,000 degrees, this material is a lot cooler than the rest of the surface. The rain consists of denser clumps of plasma that fall back towards the sun under the influence of gravity. At 20 seconds into the video you can see another eruption in the center of the frame. This is cooler material that is thrown upwards after which it largely falls back. The eruption appears small, but is actually larger than the Earth.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: ESA releases spectacular video sun


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