Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surprises From SOHO Include Tornadoes On The Sun

Date:
April 30, 1998
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
The Sun has tall gyrating storms far larger and faster than tornadoes on the Earth. This unexpected finding is among the latest results from the solar spacecraft SOHO, announced at a European Space Agency press briefing earlier this week.

The Sun has tall gyrating storms far larger and faster than tornadoes on theEarth. This unexpected finding is among the latest results from the solarspacecraft SOHO, announced at a European Space Agency press briefing on 28 April. British scientists discovered the solar tornadoes in images anddata from SOHO's scanning spectrometer CDS. So far they have detected adozen such events. They occur most frequently near the north and south polesof the Sun and are almost as wide as the Earth.

Steady windspeeds of 15 kilometres per second and gusts ten times faster(which means 500,000 kilometres per hour) occur in the solar tornadoes. Forcomparison, tornadoes on the Earth blow at 400-500 kilometres per hour. Thesolar measurements are made by the Doppler effect -- the same principle asthat used by police radars to detect speeding motorists. The observedwavelength of emission from hot oxygen atoms changes according to whetherthe gas is moving towards the detector or away from it, and the CDSinstrument is very sensitive to these variations.

One of SOHO's main tasks is to trace the sources of the wind from the Sunthat pervades the Solar System. Gusts and shocks in the solar wind buffetthe Earth's environment, causing auroras and magnetic storms and endangeringsatellites and power supplies. The newly discovered tornadoes may contributeto the solar wind, especially to a fast windstream that emanates fromrelatively cool parts of the solar atmosphere called coronal holes.

"We see the hot gas in the tornadoes spiralling away from the Sun andgathering speed," says David Pike of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK,who is co-discoverer of the solar tornadoes with Helen Mason of CambridgeUniversity. "These spectacular events in the Sun's atmosphere must havewidespread effects. Our next step will be to try to relate the solartornadoes to observations of the fast solar wind farther out in space, asseen by other instruments in SOHO."

Built in Europe for the European Space Agency, SOHO carries twelve sets ofinstruments provided by European and American investigators, and it wasdispatched into space on 2 December 1995 by a NASA launcher. SOHO is aproject of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Surprises From SOHO Include Tornadoes On The Sun." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980430083400.htm>.
European Space Agency. (1998, April 30). Surprises From SOHO Include Tornadoes On The Sun. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980430083400.htm
European Space Agency. "Surprises From SOHO Include Tornadoes On The Sun." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980430083400.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) NASA reported the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, on August 24th. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The space shuttle Discovery launched for the very first time 30 years ago. Here's a look back at its legacy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins