You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Tornadoes on the Sun?

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) stares at our sun in high-definition from space. Under the spacecraft's constant gaze the sun's invisible magnetic field betrays its presence by bending charged gas, or plasma, into entrancing patterns. In February 2012, SDO captured curious images in which plasma near the sun’s surface appears to swirl like debris in a tornado. But was the plasma really rotating? Some scientists believe the spinning is an illusion caused by a 2-D projection of 3-D motion, while others think it is truly twisting. Newer observations may show more clearly that some of the material is moving toward Earth while some is moving away, pointing to genuine rotation. If that’s the case, bunched magnetic fields at the sun’s surface could be causing the elaborate plasma dance by becoming tangled themselves. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Visualizer/Animator: Tom Bridgman (GST) Producers: Michael Starobin (HTSI) Scott Wiessinger (USRA) Scientists: Yang Su (University of Graz) Todd Hoeksema (Stanford) Writer: Chris Cesare (USRA) This video is public domain and may be downloaded at: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11691

UP NEXT

NOW PLAYING: Today

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) stares at our sun in high-definition from space. Under the spacecraft's constant gaze the sun's invisible magnetic field betrays its presence by bending charged gas, or plasma, into entrancing patterns. In February 2012, SDO captured curious images in which plasma near the sun’s surface appears to swirl like debris in a tornado. But was the plasma really rotating? Some scientists believe the spinning is an illusion caused by a 2-D projection of 3-D motion, while others think it is truly twisting. Newer observations may show more clearly that some of the material is moving toward Earth while some is moving away, pointing to genuine rotation. If that’s the case, bunched magnetic fields at the sun’s surface could be causing the elaborate plasma dance by becoming tangled themselves.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Visualizer/Animator:
Tom Bridgman (GST)

Producers:
Michael Starobin (HTSI)
Scott Wiessinger (USRA)

Scientists:
Yang Su (University of Graz)
Todd Hoeksema (Stanford)

Writer:
Chris Cesare (USRA)

This video is public domain and may be downloaded at: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11691

Tornadoes on the Sun?

UP NEXT

AdChoices

More From The Weather Network

More From The Weather Network

Most Recent

Entertainment

Viral

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon