Coronal rain spotted on sun's surface

3:54 PM, Mar 8, 2013   |    comments
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Photo courtesy NASA

GREENBELT, Md. (KSDK) - Solar flares pose a serious risk to not only astronauts and spacecraft, but can wreak havoc on electronic devices across the Earth.

Last July, a powerful eruption on the sun's surface resulted in a solar flare and an awesome display that appears to show a type of rain made of liquid fire.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory collected video of the solar flare and "coronal rain" using its Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA). The device captured one frame of the flare every 12 seconds and NASA assembled the frames to make a four minute video. The movie itself plays at 30 frames per second, meaning each second in this video equals six minutes of real time.

According to NASA, this video covers 11:30 p.m. CT on July 18 to 9 p.m. CT on July 19, 2012.

Coronal rain is caused when a solar flare ejects light, radiation and hot plasma along a magnetic field. The plasma cools and condenses along said magnetic fields and slowly falls back to the solar surface.

The magnetic fields are invisible, but NASA's AIA device was able to detect the coronal rain by observing material at temperatures of about 50,000 degrees Kelvin, or 89,540 degrees Fahrenheit.

View other videos and pictures of this and other amazing space phenomena at NASA's multimedia page.


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