Friday, June 10, 2011

Surf's Up... On the Sun!?

The Sun has been amazing us all week. First there a massive explosion; then we learned it's magnetic field created a froth of magnetic bubbles at the edge of the Solar System; And now it has been discovered that there are "surfer waves" on the Sun. Whoa, dude...

Surfer waves -- initiated in the sun, as they are in the water, by a process called a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability -- have been found in the sun's atmosphere. Credit: NASA/SDO/Astrophysical Journal Letters
I wouldn't suggest trying out your "hang 10" on these waves though. Besides being the surface of the Sun, the waves are about the size of the continental U.S. and moving at some insane speeds. The waves were discovered by the amazing Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which took the video of the explosion earlier this week. This nifty craft, launched in February 2010, has definitely been earning its keep.

The waves were discovered soon after the SDO began taking images in March 2010. The science team has been hard at work learning about these waves and have just published their paper in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. You can find all the nitty gritty physics there if you want. This video is also fairly informative:



The waves are caused by the same effect that creates classic "surfing waves" in water, known as the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. Its effect can also be seen in clouds and on other planets. It is expected that this discovery will explain how energy moves through the atmosphere, or corona, of the Sun and initiates events like Coronal Mass Ejections.

So enjoy your weekends everyone. Maybe you'll catch some Sun and waves down at the beach? Our forcast is calling for thunderstorms all weekend...


20 comments:

Malkavian said...

Surfing in the sun, cool

AllenTesch said...

Isn't surfing on the sun and old Smashmouth song?

Xenototh said...

I think I will avoid the sun if it is flashing balls of fire the size of the US....

ed said...

cool to look at but i hope it doesnt affect us

Duhniel S. said...

Awesome!

Dave said...

The Sun is an amazing thing. Ive learned lots of new stuff on this blog. Cheers.

Rob said...

The sun is awesome :D

Daniel said...

Have the seen silver surfer there?

Dejch said...

only time i've seen surfing the sun was in stargate universe

Solsby Kid said...

Woah, thats amazing!

Jay said...

the sun has been amazing this week, last week, and pretty much every week. :D

JayPower said...

Would be so cool if it was somehow possible to surf on the sun ;DD

Kicking Rocks said...

I bet the silver surfer goes there!

BLEEDS FOR DAYS AND NEVER DIES! said...

You don't think those waves on the sun affect female behavior, do ya? I've been tripping with the urge to kill for two weeks now...and I'm not on my "lady time"...

Necroticism said...

But you need an adamantium board, and it's expensive D:

Moobeat said...

interesting

thenitefalls said...

Looks amazing but I hope it doesn't blast us hehe

MRanthrope said...

The Silver Surfer is the only being in the cosmos I can think of who get down on waves in the ocean or on a star like the sun. Luckily bastard.

Banacek said...

Maybe Hollywood could do a superhero version of Point Break and set it on the sun.

Shutterbug said...

I love the sun! It makes me happy! :P

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