Behold: The 62,000-Mile-High ‘Plasma Waterfall’ That Erupted From The Sun
The ‘waterfall’ of plasma on the Sun is a polar crown prominence. (Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau)
A stunning solar “waterfall” has been spotted on the surface of the sun.
picture, taken by astrophotographer Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau on March
9, shows a wall of plasma being shot “some 100,000 kilometers” – or
about 62,000 miles – up towards space, Poupeau told Spaceweather.com.
That’s high enough to engulf about eight Earths.
The plasma then seems to be cascading back down to the sun, giving the structure its “waterfall” nickname.
my computer screen, it looked like hundreds of threads of plasma were
dripping down a wall. It really was a spectacle that left me
speechless,” Poupeau told the publication.
Scientists estimate that the plasma is falling back down at tremendous speeds – up to 22,370 mph per Space.com.
These plasma waterfalls are the solar equivalent to Earth’s auroras
This structure is what is called a polar crown prominence.
on the sun usually take the form of giant tentacles of hot plasma,
stretching out towards space in a big arc, as can be seen below.
when these prominences happen near the poles of the sun, more
specifically around the polar circle, the magnetic fields are so strong
that instead of bursting towards space, the plasma can cascade back down
to the sun very quickly.
Because of the location of these prominences, NASA likens them to
aurora, because they circle the poles at about 60 to 70 degrees of
latitude on the sun.
( Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau )
“Instead of Northern Lights, however, the sun’s ovals are filled with dancing sheets of plasma,” per a NASA blog post.
You can see these structures lining up around the polar circle below.
The sun is nearing a peak of activity
This is just the latest of a string of brilliant solar events that have happened in recent months as our sun nears a peak of activity.
every decade, the sun’s magnetic poles flip, which causes havoc with
local magnetic fields that are bursting all over our star. In that
period, remarkable solar events are more likely to happen.
Examples of recent solar events include:
A plasma vortex swirling like a whirlpool around the solar pole.
A massive coronal “hole” in our sun that spewed energy towards the Earth in recent weeks.
Auroras spotted as far down as New Mexico.
A solar “tornado” the size of 14 Earths that appeared when a prominence got caught in between magnetic fields.
Space weather is not just pretty
Scientists don’t only
look to the sun to see these beautiful structures. With solar events
comes space weather, which can be damaging to our planet.
these big solar events can release waves of energy that hurtle from the
sun into space. If they are pointed at the Earth, these so-called solar storms could be damaging to power grids and other infrastructure if not managed properly, scientists previously told Insider.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
Alien space debris stuck in Earth’s orbit, researchers say
Recently, a group of experts from Harvard University, led by physics
professor Avi Loeb, announced the possible presence of alien space
debris in Earth’s orbit, reports the Daily Star.
space research expert Professor Loeb is confident that the discovery of
such “interstellar objects could help expand our knowledge of possible
alien civilizations and technologies. A team of scientists is conducting
research to confirm that some of the objects in our orbit may be
connected to other star systems.
During an interview with Live
Science, Professor Loeb explained that these objects could enter the
solar system from interstellar space, defying Jupiter’s gravitational
pull and occupying limited orbits around the sun.
Some of them may
have technological origins similar to the probes sent by mankind into
interstellar space, such as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and 11
and New Horizons.
despite these interesting assumptions, Professor Loeb did not specify
what specific objects he was talking about. In his research report, he
notes that there could be “a significant number” of potentially
detectable objects in Earth’s orbit.
To confirm their assumptions,
the team of scientists uses computer simulations and the Vera Rubin
Observatory (Chile) with a high-resolution camera of 3.2 billion pixels.
This will allow for regular observations of the Southern sky and the
possibility of detecting several captured objects about the size of a
It is assumed that these interstellar objects passed through the
boundaries of the solar system and may carry unique information about
other civilizations and their technologies. If we could confirm the
origin of these objects, the mysteries that open before us, this would
be a real breakthrough in space exploration.
expresses hope that the new research will not only help expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial technologies, but may also lead to the
discovery of new alien civilizations . Answers to such questions can be
of global significance and influence our understanding of the place of
mankind in the Universe.
while there are still many questions and assumptions, the study by
Professor Loeb and his team opens a new chapter in space exploration.
Each new discovery can be the key to deciphering the mysteries of the
cosmos and the possibility of encountering alien life forms.
Betelgeuse is acting strange again
Betelgeuse, a red giant on the brink of death, continues to show
unusual behavior. After the Great Blackout, which occurred in late 2019
and early 2020, the star became unusually bright. It is now the seventh
brightest star in the sky, while it normally ranks tenth. This has led
to speculation that Betelgeuse is preparing to explode in a
spectacularly large supernova.
However, scientists believe it’s too early to tell, and it’s likely
that this behavior is due to ongoing fluctuations after the Great
Blackout of 2019, and the star will return to normal within a decade.
Betelgeuse is one of the most interesting stars in the sky. It is
about 700 light-years from Earth and is a red giant in the last stage of
its life. It is also an unusual star for a red giant because it was
previously a monster blue-white O-type star, the most massive class of
Betelgeuse has changed its spectral type because it has almost
exhausted its hydrogen reserves. It now burns helium into carbon and
oxygen and has expanded to a gigantic size: about 764 times the size of
the Sun and about 16.5 to 19 times its mass.
Eventually it will run out of fuel to burn, become a supernova, eject
its outer material, and its core will collapse into a neutron star.
Before the Great Blackout, Betelgeuse also had periodic fluctuations
in brightness. The longest of these cycles is about 5.9 years and the
other is 400 days. But it seems that the Great Blackout caused changes
in these oscillations.
A new paper by astrophysicist Morgan McLeod of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has shown that the 400-day
cycle appears to have been halved. This pulsational cycle is probably
caused by expansion and contraction within the star. According to
simulations carried out by MacLeod and his colleagues, the convective
flow inside Betelgeuse may have risen and become material that separates
from the star.
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