Solar Flare Captured by NASA in Stereo Images

Science - Earth and the Environment


NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has released new video footage of an impressive solar flare that erupted from the sun last week, Feb. 24, described as a “monster prominence.”

According to the SDO, the sun unleashed a rather large M 3.6 class flare and “blew out a gorgeous, waving mass of erupting plasma that swirled and twisted for 90 minutes.”

SDO’s hi-tech equipment, which includes two juxtaposed STEREO-satellites, captured the flare in extreme ultraviolet light. NASA scientists were able to focus in on the event to reveal “exquisite details,” with imagery transmitted every 24 seconds that create a sense of “seamless” motion.

Solar flares can trigger coronal mass ejections, when billion-ton clouds of plasma are violently ejected by the sun, often causing geomagnetic storms on Earth over ensuing days, which can disrupt satellite-based systems, cause blackouts, and Northern Lights displays.

This flare is the latest in a recent series of solar storms as the sun enters a more active phase of its current cycle, but scientists say this particular one was not directed at the Earth and will not produce a geomagnetic storm, according to AFP.