View Full Version : Nasa-Solar eruption in HD

09-08-2012, 02:28 PM
Saw this one this AM,Aug,31 CME captured in full HD:cool:


09-09-2012, 05:39 PM
Thank you for the link, WS. Fascinating!

09-09-2012, 08:13 PM
Yes I ment to post thanks for the link the other day but ended up watching more videos of stuff and some how ended up watching 1/2-full hour long "full length" japan tsunami videos.

09-09-2012, 09:02 PM
Amazing. 900 miles per second? Wow.

Thanks for sharing.


09-09-2012, 09:26 PM
A few things that aren't mentioned in the footnotes of that video: The elapsed time was about three hours. It isn't real time.

In general what looks like a pretty dense eruption of matter is actually extremely "undense". Even the "thickest" parts would be considered a very decent lab vacuum. That also includes the first 50 kilometres or so of the sun's visible "surface". Everything is relative and in this instance it is relative brightness that plays the big role. The plasma is very good at absorbing incident photons which makes it look dark relative to the surface below. There are some very hot fringes that radiate well for a while but the entire ejection is far less dense than the neon in a neon lamp.

Still, because of the incredible volume of the eruption it still represents a large amount of matter being thrown off. The amount of energy involved is unbelievable. According to NASA a large CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) can propel a billion tonnes of matter to several million miles per hour. The energy involved makes a nuclear weapon look like a candle flame. When a big CME scores a direct hit on the Earth's magnetosphere it will cause the Earth's magnetic field to oscillate several degrees away from normal. This field motion can and has caused long high voltage transmission lines to fail from overload due to the induced currents.

michigan doug
09-10-2012, 11:45 AM
We're playing literal Russian roulette with the sun. If a big CME event occurs that happens to be "aimed" at the earth, it will play havoc with our grid. This happens periodically. The last major event, known as the Carrington event, produced significant damage to our grid, but since we had so little grid in 1859, it was no big deal. If the same size and type of event happened today, it is unlikely we could get the electricity back on in huge parts of the globe, for perhaps 6 months, to ?? five years??

Here was Nat Geo's take on the risk:


09-10-2012, 12:07 PM
In 1989 an X15 class flare knocked out the entire Quebec grid and therefore much of the Eastern US as well. It took down 20 gigawatts of generating capacity for about 9 hours including 2 gw to the US.

The most important problem isn't the power grid though. It's the satellites that can be damaged or destroyed by such an event.

It isn't obvious how vulnerable we are. All it takes is three medium sized nukes at about 300 miles altitude over the east, midwest and western US to send North America back to the stone age.

Of course, it can be worse. A single gamma ray burster anywhere in our galaxy will sterilize the entire Milky Way Galaxy. They put out as much power in the form of Gamma radiation in a few seconds as the sun will generate in its entire lifetime.