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WATCH: Coronal rain on the sun


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 7:44 PM - Earth isn't the only place that's subject to a bad forecast. The sun gets its share of dodgy weather too -- but solar rain is made of an electrically-charged gas called plasma.

Coronal rain falls at a speed of about 200,000 km/h from the sun's outer solar atmosphere (the corona), onto the sun's surface.

It creates a coronal shower that can occupy a space as large as the entire country of Ireland.


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If you're wondering what solar rain looks like, you're in luck.

The Royal Astronomical Society has recently published a YouTube video of the phenomenon, and it's pretty amazing:



The short-yet-interesting clip depicts coronal rain formation as seen by the  Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) over a 70 minute period.

Here are some points of interest in the video, courtesy of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The field-of-view is dominated by small-scale jets (spicules), as observed in the red-wing of the H-alpha 656.3-nm spectral line. A part of a C-class solar flare is seen as a bright flash in the top-left edge of the image (approx. half-way through the movie), which is followed by many dark threaded flows (i.e. coronal rain) in the second half of the movie, which appear to be falling back to the solar surface from bottom-right to top-left. The field of view in the image is 16,000 by 20,000 kilometres.

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