Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recently captured a rare event on the sun, showing a vortex forming above its north pole after a chunk of the star effectively broke away. A filament of plasma erupted from the sun’s surface and can be seen swirling in the footage. Scientists require further analysis to confirm the event, but it is a unique occurrence that was never seen before.
Solar flare emission
Despite the crucial role of the Sun for everything on Earth, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of it. However, it is known that the Sun experiences activity cycles roughly every 11 years, and its activity is currently increasing, leading to the emission of more solar flares, including the largest ones known as X-class.
The recent emergence of a filament or solar prominence around the Sun’s northern pole is not uncommon. But its subsequent breaking away is an unusual event. According to observations, the vortex circled the Sun’s pole at 60 degrees latitude over eight hours and was moving at a speed of 60 miles per second.
More observations of the #SolarPolarVortex reveal it took roughly 8 hours for material to circumnavigate the pole at approximately 60° latitude. This means an upper bound in the estimation of horizontal wind speed in this event is 96 kilometers per second or 60 miles a second! pic.twitter.com/EpHhwdLeDs
— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) February 4, 2023
Solar Dynamics Observatory’s studies
The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured some really amazing footage of the sun. The SDO is a spacecraft that studies the Sun’s behavior to help us better understand how it works. It takes pictures of the sun’s outer atmosphere, which is called the corona, as well as plasma that’s created from solar flares.
These images show us the different levels of radiation being emitted by the sun, with bright areas representing hot spots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections. On the other hand, dark areas, known as coronal holes, give off very little radiation, but are still the main source of particles in the solar wind.
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