29 September 2015

Solar Flares from Tabuk – Photographs by Viv Wilson

Viv sent me some photographs of the sun taken from Tabuk in northwest Saudi Arabia that appear to show some solar flares. A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released causing a sudden, rapid, and intense variation in brightness. As the magnetic energy is being released, particles, including electrons, protons, and heavy nuclei, are heated and accelerated in the solar atmosphere. This energy release is ten million times greater than the energy released from a volcanic explosion but is less than one-tenth of the total energy emitted by the Sun every second. Solar flares extend out to the layer of the Sun called the corona. The corona is the outermost atmosphere of the Sun, consisting of highly rarefied gas. This gas normally has a temperature of a few million degrees Kelvin. Inside a flare, the temperature typically reaches 10 or 20 million degrees Kelvin, and can be as high as 100 million degrees Kelvin.
solar flares