It is a stunning illustration of just why solar flares on the sun can cause problems on Earth.
to illustrate the size of solar flares, this image shows a massive loop captured in 1999 – with our own planet to scale.
It shows a gigantic ribbon of hot gas bursting upwards from the sun, while being guided by a giant loop of invisible magnetism.
The fiery arches extended about 35 times the diameter of our planet into space from top to bottom into space.
If they ever hit earth, they would disrupt satellites, power grids and communications.
This stunning image was taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory on July 27, 1999 and the ultraviolet telescope reported ionized helium temperature around 70,000 degrees Celsius – the image was released today by the European Space Agency.
This event is known as a prominence, which is when an extension of gas arches up from the surface of the sun and are sculpted by the magnetic fields produced inside our 4.5 billion year old ball of gas.
Once these loops of gas form, they find their way to the surface of the sun and burst through – propelling themselves into the solar atmosphere.
The sun is predominantly made of plasma, which is an electrified gas of electrons and ions.
And because of this, the ions respond to magnetic fields.
When the magnetic loops are released into space, huge streams of plasma are attracted to fill them that results in prominences that can last for weeks or months.
Once these brilliant arches start to collapse, most of the gas ‘drains’ down the magnetic field lines and back into the sun.
However, there are instances when they become unstable and their energy is released into space.
Compared to 1999, the sun has hit a period of low activity, but this month it proved it isn’t staying completely quiet.
Although the sun is in a period of low activity, it isn’t staying completely quiet.
This month, the 4.5 billion year old ball of gas produced three mid-strength solar flares that have been deemed the most powerful to occur in 2016.
Captured by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, these flares were classified as M-level flares — the category just below the most intense X-class flares.
Two years ago, scientists warned that the sun’s activity was the lowest it has been in 100 years.
SOURCE: STACY LIBERATORE