Feeds

Watch: Sun BELCHES PLASMA large enough to ENGULF 35 EARTHS

Fiery footage from NASA's IRIS imager

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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:

®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
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
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
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

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.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?