“a curved wall of 10,000[degree] plasma about 90,000 km long and 30,000 km tall..”

Despite a highly successful switching-on day the Large Hadron Collider at Cern will be out of action for a minimum of two months after a technnical fault resulted in a large helium leak into the tunnel. But there’s plenty of other science out there. And telescopes are responsible for a lot of it. NASA’s Swift satellite has spotted another of those Gamma Ray Bursts. This time at the relatively safe distance of 12.8 billion light-years away. Meanwhile NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has identified fragments of water molecules in jets associated with a young star 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Perseus. Closer to home, the Solar Optical Telescope on Japan’s Hinode spacecraft has been capturing footage like this of polar crown prominences at our own star, Sol.

Hinode credits: Led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Hinode is a collaborative mission that also includes the space agencies of the United States, Great Britain and Europe. Its three primary instruments – the Solar Optical Telescope, the X-ray Telescope and the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer – are observing the different layers of the solar atmosphere ranging from the sun’s visible surface to the corona, the outer atmosphere that extends outward into the solar system. The movies highlighted in this story come from the Solar Optical Telescope developed by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan in Tokyo with focal plane instruments provided by the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center of Palo Alto, CA. Credit: Science@NASA

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  • susan

    Breath-taking footage. When I saw it first, it reminded me of the dance of the willis in “Giselle”. (NB: I said, willis, not willies). When I clicked on the link, NASA noted the “eerie resemblance” to Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” which is even lovelier to think about.

    Susan — aka Probably Not A Solar Physicist

  • Yvonne

    Could have been worse. Could have had a Helia leak.

  • Pete Baker

    Lovelier to think about than “a curved wall of 10,000[degree] plasma about 90,000 km long and 30,000 km tall..”, susan?

    Surely not? ;o)

    The YouTubed version doesn’t really do justice to the clarity of the original – which is available at the link, along with more footage from Hinode.

  • susan

    “Lovelier to think about than “a curved wall of 10,000[degree] plasma about 90,000 km long and 30,000 km tall..”,

    I closed my eyes and concentrated, but nothing’s happening. It sounds like a description of a television set. To me, that is.

    The footage is even more beautiful at the link, though.

    Thank you.

  • Pete Baker

    susan

    I know what you’re saying.

    But, thanks to Hinode, we don’t have to close our eyes and concentrate. ;o)