Canyon of Fire

A magnetic filament of solar material erupted from the sun in late September. The 200,000 mile long filament ripped through the Sun’s corona, leaving behind what looks like a canyon of fire. This video combines two days of satellite data. The glowing canyon traces the channel where magnetic fields held the filament aloft before the explosion.

These images were captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory which monitors the Sun in a variety of wavelengths. The red images shown in the movie highlight plasma at temperatures of 50,000 °C and are good for observing filaments as they form and erupt. The yellow images, showing material with temperatures around 500,000 °C, are useful for observing material flowing along the Sun’s magnetic field lines. This shows up in the movie as loops across the area of the eruption. The brown images at the beginning of the movie show material at temperatures of 1,000,000 °C. Comparing the brown with the other colors  reveals that the two swirling ribbons moving farther away from each other are the footprints of the giant magnetic field loops, which are growing and expanding as the filament moves upward.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qurh_BZ-O2E]

Video Credit: NASA

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