This was the largest solar tornado ever witnessed. NASA captured it in high resolution and in multiple wavelengths. "The structure is huge ... and the velocity of the material is several tens to hundreds of thousands of kilometers per hour,” said Xing Li, astronomer from Aberystwyth University in Wales 124,000-Mile-Tall Solar Tornado Shot by NASA | THIS…is Unreal… | Unofficial Networks

124,000-Mile-Tall Solar Tornado Shot by NASA | THIS...is Unreal...

124,000-Mile-Tall Solar Tornado Shot by NASA | THIS...is Unreal...

ALL

124,000-Mile-Tall Solar Tornado Shot by NASA | THIS...is Unreal...

By

This was the largest solar tornado ever witnessed.  NASA captured it in high resolution and in multiple wavelengths.

“The structure is huge … and the velocity of the material is several tens to hundreds of thousands of kilometers per hour,” said Xing Li, astronomer from Aberystwyth University in Wales

Although these giant solar tornados appear similar to Earth’s tornados, they are born of  a very different mechanism.

On Earth, twisters form when a rising column of warm, moist air begins rotating due to intense wind shear associated with large thunderstorms.

The titanic solar events, meanwhile, are caused by spiral-shaped magnetic structures that rise from the sun and are rooted to the solar surface at both ends.

A sun tornado starts when a huge injection of plasma—charged, superheated gas—happens to shoot up one of the structure’s legs. The plasma is guided along the helical shape of the structure’s magnetic field, giving rise to a coherent rotation of material.” – natgeo.com

 

One of the most interesting facts about this solar tornado was that it didn’t result in a plasma eruption.  Many solar tornados do, but this enormous one put on a several hour long show, then slinked back down to the solar surface.

“We do not understand yet why this particular event gave us such a spectacular show for several hours [but] did not erupt” –  Xing Li

SOLAR TORNADO FACTS:

– Called solar prominences

– Have been observed for decades

– This solar tornado was 124,000-mile-tall 

– This solar tornado study was presented this week at the 2012 National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester, England

More Unofficial Networks