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Huge ‘Solar tornado’ five times as wide as Earth caught on film

Astronomers at Aberystwyth University have captured a Solar tornado on film five times as wide as the Earth. The astronomers believes the captured image provides clues into how a solar storm is formed.

“This is perhaps the first time that such a huge solar tornado is filmed by an imager. Previously much smaller solar tornadoes were found my SOHO satellite. But they were not filmed,” says Dr. Xing Li, of Aberystwyth University. Dr. Huw Morgan, co-discover of the solar tornado, adds, “This unique and spectacular tornado must play a role in triggering global solar storms.”

Aberystwyth University scientists displayed a movie of the twister at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester, U.K. yesterday. By using the Atmospheric Imaging Assmbly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO), scientists were able to find spectacular rotation of material at solar prominences and its coronal cavities above them.

The images were observed on September 25, 2011 and later presented in the National Astronomy Meeting 2012. Solar tonrado’s occur when extreme heated gases are vacuumed up from the sun and spiral towards the suns atmosphere — and can travel at 185,000 MPH dragging magnetic fields as well electrical currents into the atmosphere.

via Aberystwyth University

 


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