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01 November 2011

Our loopy sun (x3)


(Click on image for larger view.)

From Steele Hill, solar image media maven of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, comes this trifecta of a video from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows three “active regions” on the sun, where charged solar material (plasma) is flowing along vast magnetic loops on the sun’s surface. Several Earths could fit under those loops — amazing, ja? 
Here is Steele’s text, which is provided weekly to museums and science centers, along with the images and video:
Three active regions lined up vertically and each of the loop structures above them twisted differently (Oct. 15 – 17, 2011) when viewed in extreme ultraviolet light by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The high arching loops of the top active region seemed to lean to the north; the one beneath it clearly coiled to the south; at the bottom one spread upright and to the left and right as well. The loops are tracing particles spiraling along magnetic field lines that have emerged from underneath the Sun’s surface.  It is not common to see active regions so neatly aligned atop one another.