Crack that whip, a sun whip for that matter. Over the weekend, as our moon gave us a rare scene that won't happen again until 2015, scientists also caught the sun on video unleashing a long filament, akin to a sun whip.
In the months leading up to the solar maximum in 2013, expect to see some amazing sights coming from our sun, including this past weekend’s solar filaments, also known as solar prominence. The filaments collapsed and exploded and were even caught on camera by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
NASA caught the solar whip from Aug. 6 to Aug. 8 and was 500,000 miles long above the surface. The video depicted the filament as a darker thread and as the video ended the filament breaks away, but the length and shape remained together.
A small cloud of radiation is expected to strike Earth, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center. A G1 geomagnetic storm (minor) and a S1 solar radiation storm (minor) will cause Northern Lights to parts of North America. No radio blackouts are being anticipated and the agency is looking for “benign space weather in the near-term.”
Meanwhile, SpaceWeather.com is reporting the coronal mass ejection that hit the Earth’s magnetic field is “fitfully subsiding.” It is warning, though, that a strong solar flare is about to happen as Sunspot AR1564 is growing substantially and has already developed a beta-gamma magnetic field – maintaining both positive and negative magnetic polarities. This could lead to an M-class flare.
“NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours. Any eruptions will likely be Earth-directed as the active region is turning toward our planet,” stated the space weather forecast organization.
These solar filaments transpire due to unstable magnetic loops holding cool and dense gas above the surface of the sun. Filaments regularly take place and have been documented and captured on several occasions.