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Massive Explosion On the Sun

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the reminds-me-that-our-sun-is-a-molten-deathsplosion-factory dept.

Space 202

Endoflow2010 sends word of an enormous eruption that occurred on the Sun this morning. Phil Plait describes it thus: "What you’re seeing here is a solar flare (an enormous explosion of pent-up magnetic energy) coupled with a prominence (a physical eruption of gas from the surface). This event blasted something like a billion tons of material away from the Sun. Note the size of it, too: while it started from a small region on the Sun’s surface, it quickly expanded into a plume easily as big as the Sun itself! I’d estimate its size at well over a million kilometers across." The attached video is well worth watching.

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202 comments

SEEMS PAR FOR THE COURSE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369218)

Of course, it is a nuke !!

Re:SEEMS PAR FOR THE COURSE !! (-1, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369272)

A billion tons of material blown away.

But "warming" is caused by "CO2".

Re:SEEMS PAR FOR THE COURSE !! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369624)

But "warming" is caused by "CO2".

Of course it is, Jeremiah Cornelius! Ya fuckin' faggot!

Re:SEEMS PAR FOR THE COURSE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369730)

What has that got to do with warming-nothing. Is there anything that deniers wont try and use to discredit reality?

Re:SEEMS PAR FOR THE COURSE !! (5, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369748)

A billion tons of material blown away.

But "warming" is caused by "CO2".

Well... if the sun were not there, global warming would not be an issue. I'll grant you that.

Re:SEEMS PAR FOR THE COURSE !! (1)

MstrFool (127346) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369362)

I know. First thing I thought of when I saw the headline was 'Um, it's the sun, they are all freaking huge.' Even setting aside that the sun it self is a constant nuke fireball, just about any event we can notice at the scale of the vid is likely to be larger then the earth. Once the low end of a scale is 'An explosion the size of earth', I really find it hard to worry about the bigger ones. I'm kinda peeked out by the low end of the scale already, Honestly, my O-Shit-O-Meter would have been more then maxed out with most volcanoes erupting in any proximity to me that I could notice it. So something this much larger.. Well, needle on the meter is broke now, not sure what that reads as.

It farted (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369256)

That's what it looks like in the video...

Re:It farted (0)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369282)

My thoughts exactly. Only problem is it thought it was gas and it turned out to be diarrhea...

Re:It farted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369434)

My thoughts exactly. Only problem is it thought it was gas and it turned out to be diarrhea...

Here I sit, broken-hearted:
came to poop, but only farted.
Then one day I took a chance:
went to fart and pooped my pants
    --actual graffiti I saw on a bathroom wall

Re:It farted (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369552)

I learned it more like:

Here I sit, broken hearted
came to shit, only farted.
The next time, I took a chance
saved a dime, shit my pants.

Note the extra rhymes = sit/shit, time/dime, although I can't recall seeing a pay toilet in quite a while.

Re:It farted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36370092)

"saved a dime, shat my pants."

Goodness, what do they teach kids these days.

Re:It farted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369814)

British version:

Here I am, broken-hearted.

Paid a penny* but only farted.

*Something to do with needing to pay to defecate in a church, I'm told.

Re:It farted (2)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369520)

Unfortunately, gravity made most of it fall back on it's face.

Re:It farted (1)

mr_shifty (202071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369828)

Actually, it was more likely powerful lines of electromagnetic force that drew the charged plasma in the explosion back down to the surface. The sun's electromagnetic field is extremely intense.

Re:It farted (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369924)

What youâ(TM)re seeing here is a solar flare (an enormous explosion of pent-up magnetic energy)

What I don't yet understand is how you can have "pent-up magnetic energy"? So many of the quacks trying to push their perpetual motion machines claim they are harnessing the "power of magnetism", at which point the experts swoop in and point out you can't extract energy from a magnet. So how's the sun doing it?

I suppose it's going to wind up something like a spring, where you wind it up by inputing energy, and then can extract that "pent-up" energy, but I'd like to hear more about the actual mechanism at work here.

One other thing I find annoying about the video, and most others like it showing prominences, is they are always so quick. Usually a flair lasts ten frames or so (~1/2 to 1 second) when played back. Why can't they record it slower so we can see more detail, or does it really happen that fast?

Re:It farted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36370112)

You can extract energy from a magnet. It just causes it to demagnetize and never releases nearly as much energy as it took to magnetize it.

The kooks just claim it doesn't count as energy input and are confused when the permanent magnet lose field strength because "it has permanent in the name, it can't just stop, it is permanent!11!".

Re:It farted (1, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#36370268)

While I am sure you are correct that many kooks claim that. I have seen the unfortunate other side of that coin far too often. That is people claiming something can NOT work because they don't understand that a system isn't closed. They like to cry "The law of thermodynamics" and "perpetual motion" not understanding that if you stick a magnet inside of something, you have added energy. It seems that there are plenty of kooks both on the 'free energy" side as well as the pseudo-"law of thermodynamics" side that can't understand the difference between a closed system and an open one.

Magnetic energy (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#36370402)

So many of the quacks trying to push their perpetual motion machines claim they are harnessing the "power of magnetism", at which point the experts swoop in and point out you can't extract energy from a magnet.

Magnetic energy is real.

This may seem like a minor quibble, but in fact you can definitely extract energy from a magnet. Just let it attract a magnetically attractable object (iron ball), and harness the force it exerts on that object over a distance while it "falls" into the magnet. Work is just the integral of the dot product of force times distance, integrated over distance, and energy is the ability of a physical system (the magnet) to do work on another physical system (a magnetically attractable object).

It's not perpetual motion, because you have to exert a like amount of work externally to pry the object away again before you can repeat the process, but it is energy being released.

Re:It farted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369546)

I think they would say it Sharted

Re:It farted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36370042)

That's what it looks like in the video...

One wonders how YOU seem to know what a fart looks like....

Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369270)

Dude, the sun IS a massive explosion.

Re:Um... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369394)

Implosion.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369866)

Implosion.

In shorter timescales, gravity balances with pressure and the Sun stays roughly the same size.

Long-term, I think red giant is the next stage.

So no implosion; explosion later... probably.

Source of planets (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369274)

Could events like this be where the matter came from for building the planets?

Re:Source of planets (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369342)

Not in the slightest.

Re:Source of planets (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369388)

For the most part, you're right, but give them credit: explosions like this do add a very very very very small amount of mass to planets without magnetic fields (at the cost of destroying all life by irradiating the surface and stripping away the atmosphere, IIRC)

Re:Source of planets (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369448)

This event ejected about a billions tons of material; contrast that with the mass of the earth, at approximately 9.5 x 10^21 tons.

So, no, this is nowhere near large enough to form planets. This wasn't even a particularly large solar ejection. Planets tend to come from the violent deaths of stars, not a little burp like this one.

Re:Source of planets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369926)

Concise and correct: the best kind of informative.

Have a nice day.

Re:Source of planets (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369524)

The planets and even our sun came from incredibly massive stars the wentviolently exploded in super nova, creating incredibly massive debris fields which eventually coalesced, the heavier elements forged in the supernova explosion collided into the rocky bodies you see and the lighter elements formed into the gas planets and our star. Check out some nebula pictures to see this in action. As impressive as those videos are the difference in energy of a burp on a sun compared to a supernova is staggering and thats the energy required to form the elements we find on planets. So no you, the planets, everything you see came from long dead exploded stars.

Re:Source of planets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369532)

No, not really.

Re:Source of planets (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369762)

Current thinking is that the matter that goes to making planets comes mainly from the explosive death of a star, coupled with whatever random mass it may encounter and collect on its journey.

Think of stars as furnaces taking in ingredients (hydrogen being the main) and through burning and gravitational pressure converting those ingredients into other elements.

I'm sure that some material is spewed out during flares and erruptions, but working on the timescale and dive of universal happenings it would take an extremely long time to make even a small planet from such amounts is matter.

However, our own solar system is believed to have formed due to a spinning effect in the gas and dust that surrounded our star when it burst into life, much like Saturn rings, lots of little pieces going round and round slowly clumping together.

Best answer is this I think

The matter and ingredients of matter that make up planets has always been about, originally the whole universe was little more than dust. Then along came stars bringing with them the two vital ingredients

Heat/pressure to convert matter

Gravity to give us movement which over time causes clumps, and eventually planets.

Sorry for the long winded somewhat higgledy piggledy post, just my limited knowledge flaring up.

Doesn't look as big as the sun itself to me (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369278)

...but it's a little hard to tell since the whole thing doesn't fit in the video frame.

Re:Doesn't look as big as the sun itself to me (4, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369610)

If you want a more complete coverage of the event (not to mention a few more tasty videos) then there is a much better write up at The Sun Today .org [thesuntoday.org] which you should take a peek at.

The impact on BitCoin (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369284)

Obviously an event of this magnitude had significant impact of the valuation of BitCoin. The powers that be have decided to make the whole financial model open source and inundated the markets with billions of BitCoins. Unprepared vendors have now fallen back to the Russian ruble until the solar explosions subside.

What video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369288)

Can someone please post a link to a video that doesn't require a fucking plug-in like it's 1995?

Thanks.

Re:What video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369336)

youtube.com/html5

Re:What video (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36370018)

Is your search broken, too? What a rich Internet experience you must have.

In orbit.. (3, Interesting)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369290)

I can't wait to see what effect this has on those electronic things in orbit..

Re:In orbit.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369352)

The article says the explosion did not happen in our direction. So probably nothing.

Speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369300)

Is that the actual speed or is this video in fast playback (or whatever it's called)

Re:Speed (1)

tzot (834456) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369412)

I assume it's in fast forward; given the size of the Sun itself, the gas seems to move/expand at relativistic speeds or faster (light needs ~4.64 seconds to run along a Sun diameter).

Better video (5, Informative)

chebucto (992517) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369312)

You need to see both to get a fuller appreciation of the scale, but the 2nd video in the article is more impressive, IMHO:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpkXhlPIINQ [youtube.com]

Re:Better video (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369466)

Agreed. Pretty incredible in high def. One thing I noticed was the flash as some of the material crashed back into the sun.

Re:Better video (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369516)

And some of the flashes are as big as the earth...

This 2nd movie truely is the most impressive one I have ever seen of the sun.

Re:Better video (1)

Humpparitari (1971604) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369518)

I've seen videos of solar flares before, but not this close up. I love how matter from the explosion falls back in the sun. It looks it's falling into water... or hydrogen and helium at 5500C.

Re:Better video (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369648)

Indeed, any sun animations I've seen in the past tend to be juddery low resolution messes at 2-5 crappy frames per second.

This latest one is MUCH more impressive. They've upped their game I think :)
Must eat up a ton of video to have to record so frequently.

Re:Better video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369908)

Not really - remember, these vids are NOT being shot at 30FPS in realtime! Maybe 1 frame per minute? What is the frame rate at which these are filmed? Not sure why

NASA source footage (5, Informative)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | more than 2 years ago | (#36370254)

Go here and you can view animations of the sun using all the different telescopes on SDO...

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/aiahmi/rangeform.php [nasa.gov]

Instructions to view the subject solar flare: select browse by date range, enter 2011-06-07 00:00:00 as the beginning and 2011-06-07 12:00:00 as the end dates, select movie as the display, select resolution 1024x1024, and set nth = 1, submit and enjoy. Also, you can play with the different telescopes.

Comment from the space.com article (3, Funny)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369326)

"It's nothing we really have to worry about," Young said in his video. "It's just really, really beautiful."

Translation: You can begin panicking now!

Be careful (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369366)

Before you watch the video PLEASE find a way to do so without looking at it directly. A pinhole viewer (http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/pinhole3.html) will allow you to view your AVI files without suffering damage to your eyesight.

Timespan and other details (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369368)

This video is speed up- the video contains about 12 hours of footage. Note also that given where the sun is in the solar cycle we can likely expect more similar events soon. If any of them end up heading more directly in the direction of Earth it could interfere badly with electronics, especially in satellites. But we haven't gotten a really bad flare since the 19th century, but then there were events that even interfered with telegraph lines. And our current electronics are a lot more sensitive than stuff they had back then.

Re:Timespan and other details (2)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369506)

Back in 1989, we had a solar flare that knocked out Quebec's transmission system, spread auroras down to Texas, and made people panic, thinking that the Soviet Union had launched a first strike.

Our electronics are more sensitive in a few senses; however, this does not mean they're more prone to failure. In the past 6 years or so, reliability standards have been put into place for the transmission and distribution systems in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We're actually much better prepared for such an event now then we were 20 years ago.

Re:Timespan and other details (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369758)

I've worked in the NOC for 2 major telcos. Neither has any plan for solar flare events. When I brought it up I was literally laughed at. When I pulled down NASA's space weather data that rates solar flares effects on earth, correlated it with our network alarms and was able to show that given a certain size flare we were almost guaranteed to have a 10% increase in network alarms... a Huge spike only eclipsed by major Thunderstorms and hurricanes, I was laughed at even harder.

It's not profitable to plan for rare events. It's profitable to plan for common events and let the insurance cover the catastrophes. The public interest be damned.

Re:Timespan and other details (2)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369954)

When was this? I'm talking about the NERC standards that went from being opt-in to mandatory in, uh, June 2008, maybe? I'm not familiar with all of the CIP, EOP, and PRC standards; maybe there's nothing in there specifically to deal with a solar event. However, any time your transmission is down for an extended amount of time, potential fines do start piling up. It's gotten damned expensive to not be prepared for an emergency.

Re:Timespan and other details (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369688)

If any of them end up heading more directly in the direction of Earth it could interfere badly with electronics, especially in satellites.

Question to anyone who knows -

Is it impossible to defend against this in any way other than pre-emptively? I would assume that usually, by the time we're aware of a massive flare, its effects would have already passed us by? It's not as if our monitoring equipment transmits faster than light, unless the detrimental effects of the blast moves slower than light.

What I"m trying to say is, if I have a roll of foil, can I put it on my computer AFTER the flare or should I make a project of turning my computer room into a foil faraday cage now?

Re:Timespan and other details (3, Informative)

Mt._Honkey (514673) | more than 2 years ago | (#36370086)

We often see them coming thanks to satellites like the one that made these movies. It takes hours-days for the flare to get from the sun to Earth, so there is time to prepare. I think it's hard to be sure exactly how hard any given flare will hit the Earth, though.

I'm not sure if your foil-on-computer question is an analogy or not. On the personal scale I expect that your regular surge protector is sufficient. The disaster planning needs to be centered on the large-scale power grid, because it's the long power lines that build up the overvoltage, not your living room. We're not worried as much about your computer as we are half the power substations on earth exploding within an hour of each other.

Rather fast? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369372)

IDNRTA (I did not read the article), is this video in actual time or some kind of sped up? If it's actual speed then those flames were moving insanely fast. Regardless of that aspect, they travel a very far distance.

Re:Rather fast? (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369492)

is this video in actual time or some kind of sped up

Sped up, if you click the link you'll find out everything.

This is a reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369386)

of how insignificant we are compared to the universe. The sun could kill us all with a single fart.

Re:This is a reminder... (5, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369462)

You think that's bad, wait until you read about Gamma-Ray Bursts [wikipedia.org]. A big pulse of gamma radiation which - if one occurred near enough to us (say, in the same galaxy and pointing in our direction) would wipe out all life on Earth. Gamma rays travel at the speed of light. We wouldn't see it coming. There might be one hitting the edge of the atmosphere right now.

Too late to use those mod points...

Gotta be more than a billion tons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369400)

A billion tons is nothing when you're looking at things on this type of scale.

Better video (-1, Troll)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369426)

Yeesh that video goes by real quick. I found another video of it, this one gives you a little more time to gaze at the spectacle of it.

linky... [youtube.com]

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369432)

The Taliban have blown up the Sun.

It's dead, Jim (2, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369498)

Noone can survive such explosion, not even the Sun. Maybe won't be apparent by now, but we will see the consequences of this next year.

Re:It's dead, Jim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369632)

This would have to be one of the hardest comments ive yet seen to figure out if the OP is trolling or disturbingly ignorant.

No.

Just.....no.

Re:It's dead, Jim (1)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369800)

No, as massive as this explosion is, it will have absolutely no significant effect on the sun itself, these explosions happen all the time. This one may be bigger than most, but it is still way too small to "damage" the sun itself, or have any long lasting effects.

Its like thinking that a 10 Megaton nuke explosion on earth would cause long lasting effects on the entire planet itself. The nuke may be an enormous explosion, but it pales in comparison to the size and mass of Earth.

Re:It's dead, Jim (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36370154)

No, as massive as this explosion is, it will have absolutely no significant effect on the sun itself, these explosions happen all the time. This one may be bigger than most, but it is still way too small to "damage" the sun itself, or have any long lasting effects.

Its like thinking that a 10 Megaton nuke explosion on earth would cause long lasting effects on the entire planet itself. The nuke may be an enormous explosion, but it pales in comparison to the size and mass of Earth.

Hmm, that massive "whoosh" I heard may not have been those gasses falling back to the Sun like I thought....

Re:It's dead, Jim (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 2 years ago | (#36370220)

Not sure if serious. :\

While this is a large flare (from our perspective), it's fairly small historically. It just looks great because now we have hi-def video of such events that we didn't have 10 years ago. There have been far larger events on the sun. As the article says - "A good flare can release up to 10% of the Sun’s total energy" and this wasn't one of those.

Network disruptions? (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369534)

I hope the EM waves don't disrupt any US networks, because then DoD would consider that a cyber attack and retaliate with thermonuclear weapons.

Re:Network disruptions? (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369720)

Result? Fewer nuclear bombs on earth and no noticeable effect to the sun! Unless we intend to send 10 billion of them, which I understand is more than the world's stockpile ATM.

Re:Network disruptions? (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369984)

You plan on nuking a giant multi billion year old nuclear explosion because it had a fluctuation its its explosivity? Good luck with that.

Bad Photography (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369572)

The way they cropped the video of the sun makes it impossible to see a good part of the flare. Well, it is the bad astronomy blog. So what did I expect?

Re:Bad Photography (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369734)

It was obviously outside the field of view of the instrument that recorded the image, you moron.

Disappointed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369654)

I thought the IRA had finally vaporized that annoying Brit tabloid.

IPv6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369670)

It's all part of testing IPv6. 'cos it'll actually be widely adopted around the time the sun dies.

morning? (2)

Imnimo (1264154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36369680)

Events taking place on the surface of the sun should not be described as "morning." It's always noon on the sun. Duh.

I, for one, welcome our (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36369696)

I, for one, welcome our new star-eater, black-monolith-shaped, time-travelling overlords...

This is all because of global warming. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36370000)

n/t

Spectroscopic analysis on ejected matter? (1, Interesting)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36370036)

I'd like to know if there was any more evidence for this:
http://www.thesunisiron.com/ [thesunisiron.com]
http://www.thesurfaceofthesun.com/ [thesurfaceofthesun.com]
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_sol01.htm [bibliotecapleyades.net]
http://www.electric-cosmos.org/sun.htm [electric-cosmos.org]
http://www.electricuniverse.info/Electric_Sun_theory [electricuniverse.info]

And yet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36370342)

...after seeing a solar event like this, of such immense magnitude, many people who see this will still believe that Man can alter the climate of an entire planet, and ignore the sun's effect completely...

Question (1)

nukeade (583009) | more than 2 years ago | (#36370366)

What would the impact have been on Earth if this had been pointing directly towards us? Would it have been on the scale of the Carrington event?

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