Label: Sun

August 7, 2012

We usually do "Cool Photo of the Week" only during the school year, but this photograph is too spectacular to pass up.

 

This is a shot of a huge storm on the surface of the sun. The storm is 93 thousand miles high (about 150 thousand kilometers). The tornado-like plasma twister is about 10 to 12 times taller than the diameter of planet Earth. That’s right - it is spurting 12 Earths high!

The huge sun storm, called a prominence, spiraled up from the surface of the sun on July 12, split into 4 strands and twisted into a knot before fading away. The entire storm lasted just a few hours.

 

You can read lots more about the star at the center of our solar system in my book THE SUN. Find it at your local library this summer!

Photo: NASA/SDO/GSFC

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(92) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Solar System, sun   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 22, 2012

 

Today’s "Cool photo of the week" is, of course, of Sunday’s Solar Eclipse. Readers in the western part of the US and Canada were in the right place to see the spectacular annular eclipse. "Annular" means "shaped like a ring," which is exactly how it appeared.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon is aligned directly between Earth and the Sun, blocking out all but an outer circle of light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Getty Images

Diagram: NASA

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, sun, Eclipse   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 23, 2012

The latest period of heavy solar flares erupting on the surface of the sun continues (as do the beautiful auroras that they create for us to see here on Earth).

Solar flares are actually great bursts of superheated plasma. There is a NASA satellite that can capture amazingly detailed images of the sun’s surface, and scientists pieced together photographs snapped every five minutes to create this amazing video of recent solar activity.

Each of the loops of plasma that you see in this video is two to three times larger than Earth. What an amazing sight!


You can see more photographs and learn more in Seymour Simon’s book, THE SUN.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Solar System, Video, sun   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 25, 2012

Welcome to Writing Wednesday! Every Wednesday you can publish your own creative writing on the Seymour Science blog.

Writing Wednesday has two simple rules: 

  1. Give us the best you’ve got in 5 minutes. That’s right - five minutes of creative writing. Think of it as a word extravaganza to warm up your brain for the rest of the day!
  2. Tell us your first name, the name of your school, and how old you are. 

Ready? Let’s go!

As a scientist wrote yesterday, "THE SUN IS WAKING UP." The sun goes through regular cycles, and we have entered a period of high solar activity. Huge solar storms have been sweeping the surface of the sun for the past week, sending bursts of geomagnetic radiation called "solar flares" toward Earth. When this radiation hits Earth’s magnetic field, it causes bursts of light that we call the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. Sometimes they look like ghostly fingers in the sky; sometimes they look like huge explosions of colored lights. 

Here is a photograph of the Northern Lights as seen in Finland this week. Take five minutes and write a list of five words to describe this nighttime sight. Enter your writing by clicking on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of this blog post.

 Happy writing!

 Photo: Arnar Bergur Guðjónsson

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Writing Wednesday, Aurora Borealis, Common Core, sun, Bell Ringers   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 3, 2010

We have a link to a 7-second video, recorded by extreme UV cameras onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows an enormous magnetic filament breaking away from the sun. Some of this breakaway material is now en route to Earth in the form of a coronal mass ejection (CME). Click on this link to view.

As we noted yesterday, this "solar wind" may result in auroras, or an opportunity to view the Northern Lights from higher latitudes. Be on the lookout starting early tomorrow morning!

The Sun has constant nuclear explosions at its core, underneath the sea of boiling gases that form its surface. You can read more about the star at the center of our solar system in my book of the same name.

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Aurora Borealis, Solar System, sun, Northern Lights   •  Permalink (link to this article)