Tornadoes on the sun

So this is pretty cool! Last month we talked about a big solar storm that was emitted by the sun, which rerouted planes and caused quite the display of the northern lights for a good chunk of the world. This month a NASA satellite that is keeping an eye on the sun spotted this incredible view. The video comes to us from space.com. Check it out!

This "sun tornado" lasted for an impressive 30 hours on February 7th and 8th. You can see it closely resembles a tornado like what we see on earth. Except this tornado, is mad of plasma and is created by the sun's powerful and dynamic magnetic field.

This event is likely in part due to the active period of the 11 year sun cycle. The activity will peak in 2013. Because it has been more active, there has been a lot more opportunities to see the northern lights as well. That's because the sun is emitting storms of magnetic particles that help to create the northern lights when they interact with the earth's atmosphere. Check out this picture from Justin Phillips. He took this picture in New Auburn.

A beautiful picture and with clear skies it was spectacular viewing. Apparently much of the northern half of the country saw the northern lights last night.


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