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A dazzling new animation captures the life cycle of a solar flare in 3D, using vivid colors to represent the varying temperatures in the fiery eruption.
The intriguing animated snapshot shows the flare from formation to finale, with dancing, illuminated tendrils of magnetic field lines that surge and then finally subside in a brilliant burst of explosive energy.
Flares - Explosions - System - Events - Sunspots
Solar flares are the most powerful explosions in our solar system, and they are spectacular events. They form near sunspots — dark patches on the sun's surface that are cooler than the churning plasma around them. Sunspots are produced by strong magnetic forces nearby, according to NASA.
When energy builds up and is suddenly released on the solar surface, it produces a flare, which appears as looping strands of magnetic energy.
Flare - Researchers - Forces - Areas - Sun
To model a flare from beginning to end, the researchers needed to calculate the forces within all the areas of the sun that shape solar flares. The model's data plunged more than 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers) under the solar surface, where flares form, and extended nearly 25,000 miles (40,000 km) above the sun's surface and into the corona, the researchers...
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