Feeds

Death Star SUCKS PLASMA FROM SUN in NASA riddle vid

Solar belch sparks refuelling UFO, black hole conspiracies

High performance access to file storage

Vid Keen-eyed skywatchers have spotted a mysterious object emerging from the Sun that, according to the tinfoil-hatted YouTube majority, can only be a UFO, a small black hole, a world-destroying weapon or maybe a new planet.

Images show a shadowy spherical object apparently tethered to home world's star by a dark string. After much debate on YouTube, folks had come to the natural conclusion that it was some sort of alien ship fuelling up on solar plasma or possibly a new planet being born, particularly because you can see a Star Wars Death Star-like sphere blast away from the Sun.

One particular avid sun-worshipper going by the name of Sunsflare posted the video, a composite of telescope imagery taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, on his Facebook page as well as on YouTube, and asked for boffins' opinions on the phenomenon.

C. Alex Young, a solar astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, who also runs a website called The Sun Today, kindly obliged in a posted video answer to Sunsflare that, unfortunately for ET-lovers everywhere, explained that the tethered sphere was actually quite a common occurrence.

"Filaments, when you see them on the solar disc at certain wavelengths, they appear to be dark because they're cooler material in relation to what's in the background. When you see them on the edge of the sun we call them prominences but they're the same objects," Young said.

"They sit in this kind of tunnel called the filament channel so when you look at it from the edge of the sun, what you see is this spherical object and you're actually looking down the tunnel."

You can hear and see his full explanation here.

Joseph Gurman, project scientist in the Solar Physics Laboratory at the Goddard centre, told Life's Little Mysteries that when a prominence extends out of the Sun, it's usually a sign that it's about to erupt - just as this one did.

"It's generally accepted, though still not conclusively proven, that prominence eruptions occur when the overlying magnetic field that contains the prominence material is disrupted," he said. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.