Our Sun often generates solar tornadoes as one of its volatile occurrences in its atmosphere. However, Astronomers were fascinated with the huge amount of solar tornadoes recently spotted on the only star in our solar system. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) lately observed the Sun and caught a solar tornado whirling close to the Sun’s North Pole.
Scientists closely studied the height of the boiling plasma and concluded that it increased to nearly the size of 14 Earths combined into one body. This means that the recently spotted solar tornado could be the largest ever observed by our telescope.
What Causes a Solar Tornado on the Sun?
On Earth, we often experience tornadoes as natural disasters caused by wind. However, scientists have discovered that Solar tornadoes usually occur when solar magnetic fields change in a furious spiral and begin to drag clouds of plasma around them. The Sun is an enormous ball of boiling plasma and gas occupied by hot and charged particles. These charged particles often generate magnetic fields that twist and form a spiral as they move around the sun.
The generated magnetic fields will eject huge clouds of plasma into space surrounding the sun. Whenever a solar tornado occurs on the Sun, it could last for some period before collapsing. The most recently spotted tornado lasted for about three weeks before disintegrating.
SpaceWeather revealed that the huge tornado began to expand on March 14 before it finally exploded on March 18 in a cloud of magnetized gas. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the rotating clouds to reach the height of about 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) which is equivalent to 14 Earths.
Is Earth Affected by the Recently Spotted Solar Tornado?
While the height of the solar tornado appears to be intimidating, Earth remains safe from harm. This is because the tornado occurred in the surrounding space around the sun. Earth maintains an average distance of about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers). This implies that our home planet is in no way near the surrounding space of our star. Hence, no damage occurred to Earth by the tornado.
UK Space Weather revealed that the sun’s activities have increased in recent times as there are six noticeable sunspots. The largest of these sunspots may generate more plasma ejections and solar flares in a few days to come. These generated solar flares may significantly affect space weather. Scientists have also discovered two coronal holes in the Sun’s upper atmosphere which could send a huge amount of solar winds toward Earth’s direction.
These solar winds can possibly supercharge Northern Lights at higher latitudes. Astronomers revealed that the sun is approaching the peak of its 11-year solar cycle. Hence, we should be expecting several solar events to occur. But the good news is that these solar events will not cause any harm to our home planet.
How Astronomers and Amateur Astronomers Observed the Solar Tornado from Earth
While NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captures the recent solar activity from space, many astronomers and amateur astronomers decided to capture the event using their telescopes. They pointed their telescopes at the Sun’s North Pole from different locations on Earth and captured breathtaking images of solar activity.
“This 14-Earths-tall swirling column of plasma was raining moon-sized gobs of incandescent material on the sun,” astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy tweeted. “I can’t imagine a more hellish place,” he added.
The recently spotted solar tornado has revealed the volatile nature of the Sun. Even though it does not cause any damage to our home planet, Scientists are still fascinated with its occurrence. What do you think about this solar occurrence?