Feeds

Watch: Sun BELCHES PLASMA large enough to ENGULF 35 EARTHS

Fiery footage from NASA's IRIS imager

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Vid

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has filmed some impressive footage of a coronal mass ejection (CME) - the first such footage to come from the "Small Explorer Mission" to examine the Sun's lower atmosphere.

Captured on 9 May, the video shows a "giant sheet of solar material" about "five Earths wide and about seven-and-a-half Earths tall" in the field of view. The agency elaborates: "The IRIS imagery focuses in on material of 30,000 kelvins at the base, or foot points, of the CME.

Still from the IRIS video of the CME. Pic: NASA

35 Earths' worth of coronal mass ejection

"The line moving across the middle of the movie is the entrance slit for IRIS's spectrograph, an instrument that can split light into its many wavelengths – a technique that ultimately allows scientists to measure temperature, velocity and density of the solar material behind the slit."

Since IRIS has to "commit to pointing at certain areas of the Sun at least a day in advance", there was a certain amount of luck involved in getting the money shot.

Bart De Pontieu, IRIS boffin at the Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory, enthused: "We focus in on active regions to try to see a flare or a CME. And then we wait and hope that we'll catch something. This is the first clear CME for IRIS so the team is very excited."

NASA is building an impressive portfolio of solar eruption videos. Back in April, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spied a "graceful" flare, and just a week before both the SDO and IRIS - in conjunction with other spacecraft - turned their attention to what is to date the "best observed" X-class flare:

®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.