UNUSUAL MAGNETIC FILAMENT

UNUSUAL MAGNETIC FILAMENT

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is monitoring an unusual filament of magnetism on the sun.

This image, taken on Nov. 22nd, shows where magnetic forces are holding a massive curl of dense plasma just above the stellar surface:

Magnetic filaments on the sun are not uncommon. Usually they are linear, stretching in only one direction. This one, however, curls back on itself, circumscribing a region more than 280,000 km in diameter. The unusual architecture of the region may undermine its stability. Magnetic fields that criss-cross, like mismatching ends of an incomplete circle, can explode–a process called “magnetic reconnection.” Any eruptions this week would likely be Earth-directed.

The scale of this filament makes it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Monitoring is encouraged.

Source: Spaceweather.com

David Aragorn
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