Video Gallery

Solar 'Conveyor Belt' Runs at Record-High Speeds
03.12.10
 
Solar flares › View video (Windows, streaming)
This movie shows the association of magnetic field with sunspots and coronal loops. It begins with images in "white light" (visible light) from the ESA/NASA SOHO Mission MDI instrument showing the presence of sunspots (darker, cooler regions about the size of the Earth) and the 27-day rotation of the sun. The movie then dissolves to magnetic images from MDI showing how strong magnetic fields are associated with sunspots but weaker magnetic elements are always present and in constant motion. (White represents field directed out of the Sun while black represents field directed into the sun.) The movie then dissolves to images obtained in extreme ultraviolet light by the EIT instrument on SOHO. This reveals the hot coronal loops that are associated with the magnetic features. The movie ends with a zoom-in to a single region which is followed as it rotates across the visible disk of the sun by the extreme ultraviolet imaging instrument on the NASA TRACE spacecraft. This final segment illustrates how the constant motion of the magnetic elements produces impulsive heating of material in the coronal magnetic loops.
Credit: NASA/MSFC/David Hathaway

Solar flares › View video (Windows, streaming)

This movie shows how the sun's magnetic field evolves over three solar cycles using maps of the solar surface magnetic field obtained by the National Solar Observatory. It begins with a series of magnetic images obtained over a 27-day rotation of the Sun and shows how a magnetic map of the surface is “peeled” off of the sun. Yellow represents magnetic field directed out of the Sun. Blue represents magnetic field into the sun. These maps are then animated to show the sudden emergence of magnetic regions (sunspots) in two bands on either side of the equator. These bands of activity drift toward the equator during each of the three 11-year solar cycles encompassed by this movie. This movie also reveals the flow of magnetic elements across the solar surface. Magnetic elements near the equator drift off to the right while magnetic elements near the poles drift off to the left. This is differential rotation -- the equatorial regions rotate faster than average while the polar regions rotate slower than average. Magnetic elements can also be seen drifting off toward the poles in each hemisphere. This is the meridional flow -- flow from the equator toward the poles.
Credit: NASA/MSFC/David Hathaway