The swirling inner layers of our sun cause charged particles to generate magnetic fields. As charges accumulate on the surface, magnetic field lines readjust themselves and release huge quantities of matter and electromagnetic radiation into space. This particular Mass Ejection is traveling at over 900 miles per second and has an energy level equivalent to 160,000,000,000 megatons of TNT.
Hurricane Irene can be seen on the U.S. East Coast.
Update: This satellite movie, released earlier today (August 27) by NASA, shows Hurricane Irene moving through the Bahamas and making landfall at Cape Lookout, North Carolina at around 8 a.m. EDT today.
[The first image is a collage of solar images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) that shows how observations of the sun in different wavelengths helps highlight different aspects of the sun’s surface and atmosphere. The second image shows each of the wavelengths observed by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) that was chosen to emphasize a specific aspect of the sun’s surface or atmosphere Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center]
“Taking a photo of the sun with a standard camera will provide a familiar image: a yellowish, featureless disk, perhaps colored a bit more red when near the horizon since the light must travel through more of Earth’s atmosphere and consequently loses blue wavelengths before getting to the camera’s lens. The sun, in fact, emits light in all colors, but since yellow is the brightest wavelength from the sun, that is the color we see with our naked eye – which the camera represents, since one should never look directly at the sun. When all the visible colors are summed together, scientists call this “white light.”
Specialized instruments, either in ground-based or space-based telescopes, however, can observe light far beyond the ranges visible to the naked eye. Different wavelengths convey information about different components of the sun’s surface and atmosphere, so scientists use them to paint a full picture of our constantly changing and varying star.
Yellow light of 5800 Angstroms, for example, generally emanates from material of about 10,000 degrees F (5700 degrees C), which represents the surface of the sun. Extreme ultraviolet light of 94 Angstroms, on the other hand, comes from atoms that are about 11 million degrees F (6,300,000 degrees C) and is a good wavelength for looking at solar flares, which can reach such high temperatures. By examining pictures of the sun in a variety of wavelengths – as is done through such telescopes as NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) – scientists can track how particles and heat move through the sun’s atmosphere.”
Read more here, and learn more about all the different wavelengths here.
Satellite replica, Ariel 2, 1970s. Epoxy-bonded fiberglas, aluminum, other light metals and plastics. Made by Westinghouse. Ariel 2 was launched 1964. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Transferred from NASA. Via Cooper Hewitt
Dressed in a clean room suit, NASA photographer Desiree Stover shines a light on the Space Environment Simulator’s Integration Frame inside the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Shortly after, the chamber was closed up and engineers used this frame to enclose and help cryogenic (cold) test the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module.