Sunday Diversion: A Tornado On The Sun

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 19, 2012 5:00PM

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Image Credit: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

Here's video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory that shows how volatile the star that helps provide us with life itself can be.

The video captures darker, cooler plasma shifting back and forth above the Sun's surface for 30 hours between Feb. 7-8 in extreme ultraviolet light. Essentially, this is a tornado on the sun. Solar Physicist Terry Kucera of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said the tornado may have been as large as the earth itself, with gusts of up to 300 mph. By comparison, a Category F5 tornado on Earth can reach speeds of 300 mph.