May 30, 2024, 3:13 pm


Staff Correspondent

Published:
2023-02-11 20:46:25 BdST

Huge piece of Sun breaks off, scientists stunned


The Sun has always fascinated astronomers. And now, a new development has baffled scientists.

A huge part of the Sun broke off of its surface and created a tornado-like swirl around its North Pole.

Though scientists are trying to analyse how this occurred, the video of the development has stunned the space community.

The remarkable phenomenon was caught by NASA's James Webb telescope and shared on Twitter by Dr Tamitha Skov, a space weather forecaster, last week.

The Sun keeps emitting solar flares (called prominence) that sometimes affect communications on Earth, hence scientists are more concerned about the latest development.

"Talk about Polar Vortex! Material from a northern prominence just broke away from the main filament & is now circulating in a massive polar vortex around the north pole of our Star. Implications for understanding the Sun's atmospheric dynamics above 55 degrees here cannot be overstated!" Dr Skov said in a tweet last week.

According to NASA, the prominence is a large bright feature extending outward from the Sun's surface. There have been several such instances in the past but this one has stumped the scientific community.

"More observations of the Solar Polar Vortex reveal it took roughly 8 hours for material to circumnavigate the pole at approximately 60 degree latitude. This means an upper bound in the estimation of horizontal wind speed in this event is 96 kilometers per second or 60 miles a second!" Dr Skov said in a subsequent tweet.

Solar physicist Scott McIntosh of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research, who has been observing the Sun for decades, told Space.com that he had never seen a "vortex" like the one that occurred when a piece of the prominence broke away and was whipped into the solar atmosphere.

Space scientists are now analyzing the strange event to gather more details about it and present a clearer picture.

Though our favourite star is monitored round-the-clock, it keeps throwing surprises, like the multiple powerful flares this month that disrupted communication on Earth.

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