Puffing Sun gives birth to reluctant eruption
A suite of Sun-gazing spacecraft, SOHO, STEREO and Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), have spotted an unusual series of eruptions in which a series of fast 'puffs' force the slow ejection of a massive burst of plasma from the Sun's corona. The eruptions took place over a period of three days, starting on 17 January 2013. Images and animations of the phenomena will be presented at the National Astronomy Meeting 2014 in Portsmouth by Nathalia Alzate on Monday 23 June.
"Looking at the corona in Extreme UltraViolet light we see the source of the puffs is a series of energetic jets and related flares," explained Alzate. "The jets are localised, catastrophic releases of energy that spew material out from the Sun into space. These rapid changes in the magnetic field cause flares, which release a huge amount of energy in a very short time in the form of super-heated plasma, high-energy radiation and radio bursts. The big, slow structure is reluctant to erupt, and does not begin to smoothly propagate outwards until several jets have occurred."
"We still need to understand whether there are shock waves, formed by the jets, passing through and driving the slow eruption, or whether magnetic reconfiguration is driving the jets allowing the larger, slow structure to slowly erupt. Thanks to recent advances in observation and in image processing techniques we can throw light on the way jets can lead to small and fast, and/or large and slow, eruptions from the Sun," said Alzate.
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Dr Robert Massey
Dr Keith Smith
Dr Huw Morgan
Image, animations and captions
Notes for editors
The RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2014) will bring together more than 600 astronomers, space scientists and solar physicists for a conference running from 23 to 26 June in Portsmouth. NAM 2014, the largest regular professional astronomy event in the UK, will be held in conjunction with the UK Solar Physics (UKSP), Magnetosphere Ionosphere Solar-Terrestrial physics (MIST) and UK Cosmology (UKCosmo) meetings. The conference is principally sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the University of Portsmouth. Meeting arrangements and a full and up to date schedule of the scientific programme can be found on the official website and via Twitter.
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