This amazing video from NASA (via EarthSky) shows an incredibly gigantic eruption on the Sun's surface that produced three different types of events: a solar flare, a coronal mass ejection (CME), and a really interesting and rare phenomenon known as coronal rain.
Coronal rain occurs when hot plasma in the eruption cools and condenses then follows the outline of the normally invisible magnetic fields as it rains back to the Sun's chromosphere. I found that particularly amazing to see.
The images were gathered on July 19, 2012 by the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s AIA instrument. One frame was shot every 12 seconds over a span of 21.5 hours from 12:30 a.m. EDT to 10:00 p.m. EDT. The video plays at a rate of 30 frames per second, so each second equals 6 minutes of real time.
What's extra cool is when the scale of this thing is compared to the size of Earth. If you were feeling small earlier today, you should be feeling microscopic after watching this.
This truly stunning hi-def footage captured by NASA satellites positioned around our Sun, show various views of a coronal mass ejection that occurred August 31, 2012. Wow!!
FROM THE YOUTUBE SITE:
"On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled away from the sun at over 900 miles per second. This movie shows the ejection from a variety of viewpoints as captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), and the joint ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).“
The transit of Venus across the face of the Sun yesterday was a big attraction around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, MN late yesterday afternoon. My brother and I set up on the east shore of the lake to watch the rare astronomical event, which started at 5:04pm and continued even after the Sun sank below the horizon. Swarms of people were at the lake enjoying the beautiful weather, and surprisingly many of them had a high level of interest in viewing the event. Luckily there were several telescopes, including my brother's Celestron, set up along the lake paths available to see it.
Courtesy Mark Ryan
Courtesy Mark Ryan
Courtesy Mark Ryan
Courtesy Mark Ryan
Courtesy JAXA/HinodeLast week I posted a video of the Sun's gigantic coronal mass flare-ups that had the potential to disrupt our spacecraft and some of Earth's electromagnetic fields. Now, thanks to Robert Alexander at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, we can also hear how those solar storms sounded. Using raw data collected from NASA's Messenger spacecraft orbiting Mercury, and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) about a million miles from Earth, Alexander converted the information into audio signals. Have a listen here (after a short ad, unfortunately). The sounds produced give the impression that the Sun is both very alien in nature, and extremely upset with us. Now we have to figure out what we did wrong?
Courtesy NASAThis is a perfect Buzz Burst post because it is about a big burst of solar activity that took place on our Sun just yesterday. Two giant coronal mass ejections (CME) occurred on our local star on March 6. The initial burst is heading our way at a speed of 1300 miles per second, and is expected to reach Earth sometime early tomorrow around 1:25 AM EST. This is the kind of high-energy solar activity that can mess up our communications, electrical fields, and spacecraft. The second CME of the solar cycle, shown in this amazing NASA video recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), is shooting towards us at 1100 miles per second. Look for the spectacular images of the second flare's humongous shockwave moving across the entire face of the Sun at about a million miles per hour(!).
Materials scientists figure out ways to make things stronger, cheaper, or better. A favorite technique is nano-self-assembly. Just mix together the right ingredients and "presto", you get a wonder material. Another great development would be for the material to be self-repairing.
MIT scientist, Michael Strano, and his team have created a material made up of seven different compounds including carbon nanotubes, phospholipids, and proteins. Under the right conditions they spontaneously assemble themselves into a light-harvesting structure that produces an electric current. The assembly breaks apart when a surfactant (think soapy solution) is added but reassemble when it is removed. These new self-healing solar cells are already about double the efficiency of today’s best solar cells but could potentially be many times more efficient.
Did Archimedes use a heat ray to set enemy ships on fire over 2000 years ago? A text written about the Siege of Syracuse (212BC) some 400 years later merely said he lit the ships on fire. He could have used flaming arrows or perhaps hurled larger balls of flame via catapult.
Anthemius of Tralles mentions burning-glasses as Archimedes' weapon.
This purported weapon has been the subject of ongoing debate about its credibility since the Renaissance
In 1973, an experiment using 70 mirrors, each with a copper coating and a size of around five by three feet, caused a mock-up ship 160 feet away to burst into flames within seconds.
A group of MIT students used a parabolic array of 127 "polished metal mirrors" 1 sq ft in size for a 2005 MythBusters episode and were barely able to set part of the "ship" aflame.
I recently came across this video of a recreation of the Archimedes heat ray experiment.
Courtesy Andrej Salov
This month University of Minnesota researchers have developed a technique to better capture solar energy using 'quantum dots,' a type of nanoparticle. Researcher William Tisdale said, while
“This work is a necessary but not sufficient step for building very high-efficiency solar cells. It provides a motivation for researchers to work on quantum dots and solar cells based on quantum dots.”
The technology could improve solar energy efficiency from 30 to 66 percent! That's incredible. Furthermore, the improvements may also cut manufacturing costs (and carbon footprints) by removing the need for high temperature processing. The ramifications for nanotechnology and clean energy abound.
Courtesy Jack E Boucher LUMEN means “the power of light". HAUS is a reference to the Bauhaus movement and architect Mies Van Der Rohe's Farnsworth House. Like the Farnsworth House, Lumenhaus can open up to maximize its occupants’ exposure to natural daylight.
Lumenhaus, designed by Virginia Tech, has a good chance of winning the Solar Decathlon Europe 2010 competition which ends today.
Virginia Tech had a commanding 35-point lead at Solar Decathlon Europe earlier this week, but the University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim has cut that lead to only six points now. ...everything the teams do—from hot water draws to cooking to washing to cooling their houses—really makes a difference. Every point counts. SolarDecathlon.gov blog
Lumenhaus is a zero-energy home that is completely powered by the sun. Using technology, Lumenhaus' automated systems make the owner’s life simpler, more energy efficient and less expensive. An iPhone app allows its users to monitor everything real time and to even override controls. I would really like to live in a house like this.