Here comes the sun: Astonishing ‘whip’ half a million miles long spotted on solar surface (and scientists say radiation from it is heading for earth)
- Radiation from the eruption set to hit earth within hours, creating a ‘moderate geomagnetic storm’
- Incredible phenomenon could give new insight into how solar eruptions affect electricity supplied on earth
Nasa today released stunning video showing a 500,000 mile long ‘solar whip’ on the surface of the sun – and say radiation from it is headed for eath.
Captured by from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), it shows a very long, whip-like solar filament extending over half a million miles in a long arc above the sun’s surface.
The filaments are cooler clouds of solar material that are tethered above the sun’s surface by unstable magnetic forces.
The image and video (below), which covers August 6 to 8, 2012 show the filament as a darker strand that has been in view for several days.
‘Towards the end of the video part of the filament seems to break away, but its basic length and shape seem to have remained mostly intact,’ says Nasa.
The video, which condenses three hours of activity, also reveals the action in dramatic detail in extreme ultraviolet light.
Today it emerged the eruption was so large it will reach earth.
The NOAA spaceweather prediction center estimates that a cloud of radiation from the eruption will reach Earth today.
The radiation cloud will create a minor to moderate geomagnetic storm, bringing the northern lights to parts of North America.