Dramatic video – imagine Earth in the path when the sun goes 'splode'

From NASA Goddard – NASA’s STEREO “Winks” and Provides Stunning Solar Imagery

NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory witnessed a dramatic solar eruption on Aug. 24, 2014 — even with one of its “eyes” partially closed.


A bright eruption of solar material surges into space as captured by NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory – Before satellite, which currently has a view of the far side of the sun. The inner image of the sun was provided by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. This video shows a time-lapse of the event and then a slowed-down version, and loops 5 times. Credit: NASA/STEREO

This imagery of a coronal mass ejection, a giant explosion of solar material that explodes out into space, was captured by one of STEREO’s two spacecraft, STEREO-B, which currently has a view of the far side of the sun.

The second spacecraft, STEREO-A, however, is in a temporary phase of recording only low-resolution data. Due to an orbit that has moved it toward the other side of the sun from Earth, STEREO-A adjusted its dish-shaped antenna on Aug. 20 to point slightly away from the bright heat of the star, and consequently to a position that isn’t pointed directly at Earth. The signal still comes to Earth but is fainter, so the spacecraft will be sharing only low-resolution data until it reemerges on the other side of the sun in early 2016.

Two images of the same coronal mass ejection erupting from the sun on Aug. 24, 2014
Two images of the same coronal mass ejection erupting from the sun — hidden by the middle circles — on Aug. 24, 2014. The left image from ESA/NASA’s SOHO was captured from Earth’s perspective. The right image from NASA’s STEREO was captured from the far side of the sun.Image Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO/STEREO

The twin STEREO spacecraft provide views of the sun from a different angle than can be seen from Earth’s perspective.  When combined with images from near-Earth spacecraft like the European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, it helps scientists understand the three-dimensional shape of the sun’s brilliant CME eruptions.

› Visit the NASA STEREO website.

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Joel O'Bryan
September 3, 2014 2:14 pm

The Aug 24 flare was M class, not X class. Still cool to watch tho’.

Rick K
September 3, 2014 2:18 pm

Yeah, but it’s atmospheric trace gases you really got to look out for… /s

September 3, 2014 2:31 pm

Knowing. (Nicholas Cage).
This is one of the easily preventable ($2B) megadisasters that will fry the power grid and most electronics. It happened in the 1800s over telegraph wires. Now it would induce current over the power lines – and melt them. Remember the blackout in the NE US about 10 years ago?
We need to be able to disconnect the lines when it hits. (Satellites are another problem and there are a few more things).

luc de waen
Reply to  tz
September 3, 2014 8:16 pm

disconnectng lines will not help….as that power will effect everything,, from your kitchen radio to your car..
the only thing that doeshelp is to put your electronic devises in a carbort box..suround that with alu foil,, put that box in a bigger box,, and suround that one with alu foil…

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  luc de waen
September 4, 2014 7:22 am

I’m an electrical engineer, and I’m very skeptical of a Carrington-type event “frying” electronics in cars and disconnected appliances. What would the specific cause of failure be? What is the physical mechanism that would do this?

Reply to  luc de waen
September 4, 2014 10:15 am

As an EMP engineer, I am very skeptical of a Carrington-type event “frying” electronic in cars and disconnected appliances. What you find is that only a small Voltage will build up on short electrical lines. You need tens or hundreds of metres of line to build up truly dangerous Voltages. My neighbourhood has burried power lines, so this would provide even more protection.
If you have a radio that operates in the frequency band of high density energy, it may blow out the front end of the receiver. However, most radios will operate outside of that band, and will not be effected.
Satellites, being outside of earth’s natural protection, well that is another story that I can not talk to.

Reply to  luc de waen
September 4, 2014 10:51 am

I agree about the small disconnected electronics not being affected. There’s simply not enough wire to pick up the EMP and generate enough power to cause any damage.
Probably even many of the transformers could be saved by disconnecting them in advance.
But what I think more likely is that nobody will want to ‘risk’ shutting off electricity to massive areas (probably due to political or bureaucratic reasons), so that simple preventive measure would not be taken. Results would not be good…

Reply to  luc de waen
September 5, 2014 6:12 pm

Research into lighting has led to improvements in designing electronics from EMP. And a side note to a nuclear airborne blast. A serious event will cause some damage. Angle and duration will determine a lot. Most things are shielded and grounded. Providing of course management doesn’t see a fuse as a fuse and not something that is rated.
@ Eustace.. high energy ( I can’t think of what’s it called at the moment) can change a micro processor, even through shielding.

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  luc de waen
September 5, 2014 7:28 pm

I know of five ways to damage or destroy an electronic component:
Mechanical damage
“Poisoning” a semiconductor with ionizing radiation
If you think a Carrington-type event can “fry” unconnected electronic components, please explain Which of these ways, or which combination, is at work. Explain the exact mechanism.
Yes, microprocessor programs can be corrupted by knocking 1’s and 0’s out of place in program memory. But it’s not that easy, and it doesn’t destroy the component.

george e. smith
Reply to  tz
September 5, 2014 12:33 pm

Would you care to explain the Physics, of this frying problem for us.
Of the four forces of nature we know about, only gravitation, and the electro-magnetic (Coulomb) force, can reach us from the sun. Both of those already do so, with very little of negative consequence. So we can probably dismiss the idea of a massive gravitational jolt, hitting us from the sun, so that leaves an EM pulse, or maybe the sun would throw rocks at us (particles).
Well that already happens. Millions of rocks, bigger than what the sun hurls at us, hit the earth each day. Well I prefer to think of them as other “worlds”, that earth simply lands on. Only rarely, is any of those rocks big enough to do much damage, and even that is highly localized.
Now I don’t discount the possibility, of our power grid systems blowing themselves up, due to stupid control algorithms. But I dare say that telegraph wires in the 1800s, were not exactly designed for self protection. I would venture that lightning strikes would be much more of a threat, than EM signals from the sun.
We hear and read a lot about getting zapped by the sun. Can’t say I ever saw any proof that the sun actually caused whatever happened, rather than poor control algorithms.

September 3, 2014 4:18 pm

Thanks, excellent view!
It seems to me that part of the ejected mass returns to the Sun after the fireworks are over. This mass seems to return right back to where it came from. Magnetic fields at work?

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Andres Valencia
September 3, 2014 6:52 pm

Visit SuspiciousObserver.org for resources intended for non-scientists. His daily morning briefs on YouTube have been about this subject for the last week.

Reply to  Andres Valencia
September 3, 2014 7:16 pm

No, simple gravity. For almost all eruptions, most of the material falls right back in.

Frank de Jong
Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 4, 2014 8:06 am

Leif, I think what Andres was getting at is that the mass doesn’t seem to just fall back in a straight line towards the center of the sun, but seems to be sucked in through a tunnel of sorts. See how it funnels to a point on the surface? Especially the last bit of mass follows a sinuous trail back to the surface – is that pure gravity?

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 4, 2014 8:57 am

The infalling matter would tend to be channeled by magnetic fields so that must be taken into account, but gravity is doing the work.

george e. smith
Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 5, 2014 12:38 pm

I was waiting for somebody to say that.
So roughly, what is the escape velocity from the sun’s surface ??

September 3, 2014 4:22 pm

In consideration of the [huge] size of the sun that is a tremendous release of energy

Louis Hooffstetter
September 3, 2014 6:25 pm

But as you watch this, that the most important thing you need to remember is that the Sun has absolutely NO influence on the Earth’s climate!
Just ask Dr, Leif Svalgaard.
Leif…, oh Leif…
Calling Dr. Svalgaard….

Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
September 3, 2014 7:21 pm

Sun has absolutely NO influence on the Earth’s climate!
Nonsense. Solar activity modulates global temperatures to the tune of up to 0.1 degrees.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 3, 2014 7:29 pm

That much eh?

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 4, 2014 4:28 am

Thank you Dr. Svalgaard. Commenters here (myself included) give you substantial grief, but you almost always respond with grace and character.
Like many commenters, I believe the Sun has a much greater influence on the Earth’s climate than most climatologists express. I also realize that my understanding of how the Sun influences our climate, and by how much is incomplete. Can you direct me to a clear synopsis (written for laymen) on this topic? If one does not currently exist, would you write one for WUWT readers? You are the most knowledgeable person here on this subject. We could all benefit from your knowledge.

Jeff Mitchell
Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 4, 2014 11:34 am

I guess you are talking about variations from normal, but every time I see the phrase “the sun has no influence on climate” I think to myself, “what if it turned itself off or goes supernova?”. I’d be willing to bet that the net change in climate would be a bit more than 0.1 degrees. We can’t predict sun cycles very well yet as indicated by the “predictions” that changed as cycle 24 progressed, so I’m convinced there are still a lot of known unknowns and unknown unknowns still to be discovered,

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 4, 2014 11:44 am

so I’m convinced there are still a lot of known unknowns and unknown unknowns still to be discovered
You are confusing variations of the sun with its base level. The former is what is important in the discussion.

Jeff Corbin
Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 7, 2014 6:24 pm

Very reassuring! The last thing we need is a another mini-ice age.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 17, 2014 5:34 pm

dear sir excuse my lack of proper written English I find it amusing when no one brings up our magnetic field or how much energy is allowed to strike our planet or is shielded from our planet example strongest solar minimum followed by the weakest solar maximum and the ice at the poles melts off at a constant rate until the earthquake in Japan in 2011 and the earth lost its wobble and I believe a strengthening field got a lot stronger at which time the ice melt not only stopped but the ice rebounded over night because of that event changed our field dynamics that I do not understand a thought why would the ice pack change overnight when the sun has been weak the hole time unless the energy hitting our planet is influenced by some other force

September 3, 2014 8:01 pm

If you get a chance to see a total solar eclipse, do so – during a total solar eclipse, when the disc of the sun is totally blocked, you can see the flares and streamers of gas erupting from the sun with your own eyes.
I’ve been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time for two total eclipses so far, I’m no eclipse chaser, just nature putting on one of here most spectacular displays for my benefit ;-).

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 4, 2014 8:38 am

In 1970 I was attending a military class at Sandia Base (Albuquerque, NM). We had a full solar eclipse, but none of us were allowed to go outside our windowless classroom to watch — the classes were much more important than viewing a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Reply to  littlepeaks
September 4, 2014 10:18 am

When I was in grade school, we had the same thing. Thinking back, it kind of makes me angry.

Reply to  littlepeaks
September 6, 2014 5:44 am

I was filthy at my parents for about 20 years thinking they didn’t bother going to an eclipse in Canberra when I was 7 (250km from Sydney). It was only after my second eclipse that I learned it was in Melbourne, 12 hours drive.
By an amazing coincidence, the 7am Cairns eclipse a couple of years ago coincided with a business trip to visit a client in Townsville at 2pm. (One of the benefits of being the CEO is that these coincidences happen more often these days…) But I couldn’t understand why they were at work that day – half of Townsville took the morning off to watch a 96% partial!

September 3, 2014 8:56 pm

Leif Svalgaard
September 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm
“Solar activity modulates global temperatures to the tune of up to 0.1 degrees.”
On a comparative scale between the sun and earth “0.1 degrees” is equal to 100%. of course minus the 0.1% mass equivalent, but I’m sure the advanced stuff can wait as you play catch up. 🙂

Reply to  Sparks
September 3, 2014 9:19 pm

somebody remarked that the new comment style has already led to a decrease of the quality of the comments. Yours is direct proof that this may be correct.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 3, 2014 9:59 pm

Knowing the truth about trivial matters doesn’t mean you are an expert on important ones. Leif, if my comment is direct proof of anything let it be this.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 4, 2014 1:15 am

Over and over and over again you have stated categorically that the influence of the sun on the earth’s climate is negligible. Your tone was to say the least arrogant if not supercilious. You may well feel that this mode of commenting uncomfortable because you are no longer insulated from direct responses to your comments.

Mike Wryley
September 3, 2014 9:19 pm

Just for grins and giggles, anyone know the escape velocity for the sun???

Reply to  Mike Wryley
September 3, 2014 9:25 pm

some 600 km/sec from the surface, but from the altitude where the solar wind takes off, the escape velocity is about 250 km/sec which would then be the minimum speed of the solar wind [otherwise it couldn’t escape].
The surface escape velocity is equal to the average thermal speed at the center of the sun.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 3, 2014 10:21 pm

For a photon? that would be ‘light speed’ plus or minus mass.

Mike Wryley
Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 4, 2014 8:33 pm

Are there any theories regarding the mechanism for the ejection of a stream ?…it is hard to imagine a physical process that would “squirt” a stream of material like that from what one would assume to be an entirely fluid environment, especially at those velocities,

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
September 4, 2014 9:58 pm

Mike Wryley September 4, 2014 at 8:33 pm
Are there any theories regarding the mechanism for the ejection of a stream
Yes, there are several. E.g. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110008721.pdf

September 3, 2014 10:10 pm

Leif, btw I’m always okay with what ever changes Anthony’s exploring. it’s all good.

Reply to  Sparks
September 4, 2014 3:27 am

Sparks, photons have zero mass.

Reply to  johnmarshall
September 4, 2014 4:19 am

September 4, 2014 at 3:27 am
“photons have zero mass.”
That’s an interesting point. Under escape velocity of a star, light itself has mass and an observable photon will have a property relative to mass, this property is called energy.
Many photons would have equal force relative to the mass of the star.
Question: how much does a photon weigh, when trying to escape a mass so strong that light can not escape?.

September 4, 2014 12:34 am

One thing this shows is that there can be different interpretations of the sun’s diameter. This in turn puts doubts on all those calculations of the sun’s average temperature, the sun’s radiation and the black body status. What is the size of the sun’s solid or liquid core (ie its surface) and the nature of the energy absorbed and re-emitted by the sun’s atmosphere.

Reply to  cementafriend
September 4, 2014 12:58 am

The sun provides all of earths solar energy, is this not a fact? the sun also provides the majority of the kinetic energy that planets need to physically balance the bullshit our solar physicists drone on about.
What will work? just ask..

September 4, 2014 1:14 am

Leif wrote:

somebody remarked that the new comment style has already led to a decrease of the quality of the comments. Yours is direct proof that this may be correct.

I didn’t notice a decrease in the quality, however I do notice a lot of people misusing the function to “Reply” to other comments, without actually having something to reply to them, just to have their own comment appear higher in the page than what it would appear should they comment in the old fashion.
IMO this should be discouraged in some way, but I don’t know what would be the best way to do it.

September 4, 2014 1:18 am

Even if the ‘blast’ was not directed at the Earth (possibly an oblique glance), its magnetic field reacted strongly, Bz component (green line) yank was well above 1% peak to peak, which doesn’t occur very often .
If this was direct hit we would have a mini-Carrington, or similar to the well known Quebec- Hydro of 1989. Initial very strong hit was not predicted by NASA, since there was possibility of an even stronger impact I posted short note at the time, but since it was posted as an OT it was snipped.

September 4, 2014 3:25 am

Leif Svalgaad, remarked that it was simple gravity,
that returned most of the matter ejected to the sun.
That simple gravity seems to me to be very accurate.
Most of the matter returned to the same area it left.
The sun rotates, so how does this occur?
I look and see simple as interesting.

Reply to  Twobob
September 4, 2014 4:57 am

Through a ball straight up in the air. It will also return to almost exactly the same place because it is also rotating with the earth.

September 4, 2014 3:29 am

It is interesting to see that most of the CME returns to the sun, presumably gravity assisted.

September 4, 2014 7:32 am

The solar effects on the climate and solar variability keep being under estimated by many. This will change going forward.

September 4, 2014 8:10 am

Anthony , There is a study out by Joe D Aleo ( he is excellent) of Weatherbell showing solar activity associated with blocking patterns in the atmosphere you might want to look into and possibly feature.

September 4, 2014 8:40 am

I think we should be more worried about the weakening of Earth’s magnetic field and the possibility of the magnetic-field flip occurring in our lifetime. That could leave us defenseless, even for small CMEs.

Reply to  littlepeaks
September 17, 2014 6:04 pm

life on our planet didn’t have any problems from the many variations of our field think of it this way our atmosphere condensed from a gas to a liquid would only equal 3 inches of water on our surface even a complete collapse of the field which the models don’t show happening and the oceans can provide an easy hundred thousand atmospheres as quick as the sun can burn them off short of our sun turning into a red giant at which time there is no planet

September 4, 2014 10:53 am

“splodee” as my step-daughter says.

September 4, 2014 11:59 am

Another great video. I don’t know enough to comment about it. I do enjoy Leif’s banter with other folks. I read the solar posts just to read them.

Jim G
September 5, 2014 8:16 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
“September 3, 2014 at 9:19 pm somebody remarked that the new comment style has already led to a decrease of the quality of the comments. Yours is direct proof that this may be correct.”
That was a good one! Displays the “grace” another poster used as an adjective regarding your comments. Keep up the gracefull style we all appreciate so much.

george e. smith
September 5, 2014 1:48 pm

It’s good that we are able to see some of the violence, that is our local thermonuclear power station. Well I suppose it actually is a gravitational power station. For a completely self organizing system, that exploits the weakest force in the universe, to build a mighty power station, unaided by human hand, a star is a wondrous thing.
We actually have nut cakes who talk about making stars right here on earth, and they are serious about it.
“The concept: creating a star on earth.”
Well that is an actual heading from a story in the latest issue of “Optics & Photonics News” ; a publication of the Optical society of America; one of the founding organizations of The American Institute of Physics.
So this article is about the Uber boondoggle of all time, that puts Climate research and the search for the Higgs boson to shame.
The occasion for the article was a recent announcement, that scientists at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory , in Silicon Valley (environs) had actually crushed Deuterium and Tritium together with such force, that it turned into Helium, and neutrons, plus nuclear fusion energy, that exceeded all of the energy that it took to light the thing off. Well that is what they claim; that is the story they told to explain how they spent $3.5B , and ten years over schedule for a project budgeted at $1.2B and five years to do.
So what is it they actually do ? For starters, there isn’t any Tritium anywhere so you have to make it in a fission reactor. (we have lots of those). The Deuterium you can just pick up out of the water in San Francisco Bay.
So you have to make a sphere of compressed D-T gas, inside of a sphere of solid FROZEN D-T. Look up the Temperature of solid Hydrogen; D&T can’t be far different. Well this D-T ball is inside a plastic ball, and the whole thing is perfectly spherical about 2 mm in diameter, and contains micrograms of D-T.
So a lab technician in a space suit, carefully inserts this cryo-gas tank into a “hohlraum” which is a gold cylinder the size of a #2 pencil eraser.
Then they fire 96 lasers into each end of the cylinder to squish the plastic cryo bubble, and cook it up to 150 million deg C, and squozen to about 350 Gbar of pressure, and magic happens, the D-Ts turn into helium and neutrons.
Somewhere along the line it seems some mass is converted at 100% efficiency into energy, and pretty much all of that is turned into “heat”, which is the garbage of the energy realm.
They do all of this with a laser the size of three football fields, inside a 10 storey building.
Then they have to take out the helium ashes; presumably the neutrons got out by themselves; clean the whole thing up, and then go and buy a brand new plastic ball full of frozen and gaseous D-T. And if you do this often enough, you have a fusion energy plant so you can shut down your messy inefficient coal fired plant.
Now if you believe they got enough energy out of this whack a mole, to build a new spherical D_T fuel pellet, then you might be in the market for a bridge, I have available.
So be thankful, that we aren’t going to build a star on earth, because those things are quite dangerous.

Jim G
September 5, 2014 7:43 pm

Sparks says:
September 4, 2014 at 4:19 am johnmarshall
September 4, 2014 at 3:27 am
““photons have zero mass.”
That’s an interesting point. Under escape velocity of a star, light itself has mass and an observable photon will have a property relative to mass, this property is called energy.
Many photons would have equal force relative to the mass of the star.
Question: how much does a photon weigh, when trying to escape a mass so strong that light can not escape?.”
Weight=Mass x Gravity. Light has no mass, so no weight. The energy of light has a mass equivalent since E=MC2 or M=E/C2. Blue light being higher energy than red would have a higher mass equivalent but has no effect upon velocity as C is a constant (in a vacuum) and no effect upon escape velocity. Gravity determines escape velocity but has nothing to do with weight or mass of a photon as it has no mass only a mass eqivalent, as does all energy. According to General Relativity nothing with mass can achieve the speed of light.

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