Monday, July 2, 2012

Space tornadoes power the atmosphere of the Sun

Visualisation of a close-up region in our advanced 3D numerical simulations of a magnetic tornado in the solar atmosphere. The spiral lines represent the velocity field in the tornado vortex. The images contain the observed swirl signature (top, bluish) and the Sun's surface (bottom, reddish). Credits: Wedemeyer-Bohm et al. (2012).

The super tornadoes - which are thousands of times larger and more powerful than their earthly counterparts but which have a magnetic skeleton - spin at speeds of more than 6,000 mph at temperatures in millions of centigrade in the Sun's atmosphere. They are more than 1,000 miles wide - hundreds of miles longer than the total distance between Land's End to John O'Groats.
It is estimated that there are as many as 11,000 of these swirling events above the Sun's surface at any time.
Read story here

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