May 28, 2023


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A plasma waterfall 100,000 km high? Such things only in the sun

The image of this unusual structure was captured by astrophotographer Eduardo Schaberger Popo, who said the image captured on a computer screen looked as if hundreds of plasma filaments were shooting down the wall.

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The giant wall of plasma formed under conditions that are not fully explained is referred to as a prominence. Objects like the one we see below stretch out from the photosphere, extending all the way into the solar corona. The protuberance forms within a day and can survive in the crown for several months.

In this case, we are talking about coronal polar prominences because they occur near the magnetic poles of our star, at latitudes between 60 and 70 degrees north and south. As a result, the plasma often falls back onto the sun’s surface because the magnetic fields near the poles are much stronger.

Astronomers called it a plasma waterfall. The object’s height was about 100,000 kilometers, and the falling plasma was moving at a speed of 36,000 km/h.

For this reason, scientists often talk about cascades formed from plasma. The one captured by Poupeau consisted of plasma moving at speeds of up to 36,000 km/h. This is a much higher value than it might seem due to the presence of a magnetic field. Scientists are trying to determine how things turned out this way.

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It is noteworthy that on February 2 there was a strong prominence that appeared below latitude that must be considered polar. On September 24 last year, a cloud of plasma 1.6 million km long was ejected from the surface of the Sun. As you can see, the phenomena that occur inside our star have “slightly” different scales than the ones we are used to. Recently, our star has not been forgotten, due to its increased activity. The current cycle is expected to peak around 2025.

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