Never Mind the volcano . . . look what Sun’s doing.
IF you thought photos of the Iceland volcano were impressive take a look at this . . . A 170,000-mile wide ring of fire erupting from the sun.
The giant loop of superheated gas is so big it could contain 100 earths and has the power of millions of nuclear bombs.
If a solar storm like this one had been directed towards the earth, it would have caused spectacular displays of the northern lights and disrupted communications.
The image of the eruption called a prominence was captured by a new space probe, NASA’s solar dynamics observatory, launched in February.
It will constantly monitor the sun in a bid to understand the magnetic forces that produce dangerous space weather. It uses ten powerful camera built by experts at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Swindon, Wilts, and uses sensitive electronic “film” made by e2v Ltd, of Chelmsford, Essex.
The probe is sending back 1,500 gigabytes of photos and data every day - equivalent to downloading half a million songs from iTunes.
The images are ten times more detailed then HD-TV.
Space scientist Lika Guhathakurta, of NASA, said: “SDO I sour ’Hubble for the Sun’. It promises to transform solar physics in the same way the Hubble telescope transformed astronomy and cosmology.”
The Sun Newspaper.