“Red spots” or solar prominences are visible during the 2024 total eclipse

He plays

As the sky darkened Monday over North America during a rare solar eclipse, many people noticed bright spots — flashing spots of red, pink and orange colors — along the circumference of the moon and sun.

Experts say that these bright red spots are called solar prominences. Here's what that means.

What are solar prominences?

It explains the solar prominence NASAThese are large, bright rings of plasma attached to the surface of the Sun in the atmosphere Photosphere — The visible surface of the Sun — which extends into the Sun's outer atmosphere. These prominences are sometimes visible during a solar eclipse.

“They're like an appendix coming out of the sun's heliosphere,” he said. Butler University Professor of Physics and Astronomy Brian Murphy. “That red color that people have noticed is the fluorescence of hydrogen gas, just at the right temperature and density to give us that pink color.”

Experts say you can think of solar prominences as similar to the clouds in Earth's atmosphere, but instead of suspended water vapor, these giant tendrils of hot gas are trapped by magnetic fields. They can reach distances of up to 93,000 miles above the surface of the sun and last for several months. According to NASAUnless it breaks out.

When a solar prominence flows along a tangled, twisted structure of magnetic fields, NASA says, it either collapses back onto the Sun's surface or can become unstable, break and explode outward, spewing plasma in a dazzling display of energy.

See also  Mars astronauts could make rocket fuel on the Red Planet one day. Here's how

Was that a solar flare during the eclipse?

Many photos on Monday were able to capture a bright spot at the bottom of the eclipse. Murphy explained that people were likely witnessing a “post-eruption sunrise,” which was most likely the location of the solar flare.

When solar prominence is “post-eruption”

“Think of a stretched rubber band shaped like a horseshoe magnet,” Murphy said. “Now imagine that rubber band breaking at the top. That's when material is often ejected from the sun or a solar flare, when the magnetic field is reconnected — that's what we mean by 'post-explosion.'”

What is a solar flare?

A solar flare is an intense explosion of radiation near a sunspot, which releases magnetic energy into space. According to NASA. These giant explosions from the Sun send energy, light, and particles throughout the solar system. Flares can last for several minutes to several hours. Sometimes this burst of energy can cause geomagnetic storms on Earth.

What is the difference between a solar flare and a coronal mass ejection?

While coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and solar flares are both massive explosions of energy that occur on the Sun, they move at different speeds.

Solar flares are some of the most powerful explosions in the solar system, NASA says. Particles from a solar flare can travel at the speed of light and reach Earth in minutes. continuing medical education, NASA explainsThey are large clouds of solar plasma and magnetic fields coming from the Sun that can take up to three days to reach our planet.

Credits: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrebek Keith

Community science groups across the United States are capturing video of the 2024 solar eclipse

Community science groups at 35 telescope stations across the country collaborated Monday to capture videos of the total eclipse as it stretches from Texas to New England, Murphy said.

See also  In 2023, No Man's Sky is a polished diamond

These 2-3 minute clips, as part of National Science Foundation The project will later be combined into a 60-minute video to help study the sun's corona. Speaking on behalf of Citizen Telescope Eclipse of Continental America (Citizen CATE) 2024 Murphy said he and others were excited to see the sun's prominences — those red dots — in their recordings.

“It was very clear to the eye as well, which made it even better,” he said.

Others read: Thousands gather to watch an “indescribable” total solar eclipse in Indianapolis

John Tufts covers trending news for the Indianapolis Star. Send him a news tip at [email protected]. Follow him on X in @JTuftsReports.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *