Sun Sparkles Phenomenon Captured With NASA's High Resolution Coronal Imager

Posted on July 2, 2013

Sun Sparkles captured with NASA's High Resolution Coronal Imager

BBC News reports that a phenomenon called sun sparkles has been captured using NASA's High Resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C). Solar physicists at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have been analyzing the data. They say the camera imaged electrified plasma at about 1 million degrees C and exposed phenomena scientists had never seen before. The solar physicists report that the images from Hi-C revealed a number of new features in the corona, including 'blobs' of electrified gas ricocheting along 'highways' at 80 kilometers per second and bright dots that switch on and off rapidly which the group call 'sparkles.'

The scientists say the dynamic "sparkles" indicate an enormous amount of energy. The sparkles last around 25 seconds and are about 680 kilometers (373 miles) across. The sparkles release at least one million, million, million, million Joules of energy in each event. The amount of the energy used in the U.K. in an entire year is released by one of the sparkles in 20 to 30 seconds. Take a look: