Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cool Science: HUGE explosion on the Sun on June 7, 2011

Check out these two videos of a gigantic explosion on the surface of the sun, recorded June 7, 2011. It was the largest explosion or solar flare ever recorded on the surface of the sun, covering nearly 1/2 of the sun's surface and lasting several hours.

For those of you that don't see how that's impressive, consider the following. The sun, by volume, is over one million times larger than the earth. So, to say that a solar flare covered half of the surface of the sun is to say that it was a large and powerful discharge of energy far beyond anything we can understand intuitively from our daily lives -- far bigger than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined.

The first video is taken directly from raw data at the website Helioviewer.org. Once you keep in mind the scales we're talking about here, the explosion is very impressive.



The second video is taken from raw data from the same site but with some commentary from a scientist.




To me, the amazing thing is that something that powerful HASN'T and DOESN'T destroy all of us but instead allows life to exist on the planet.
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