SHOCKING! Large chunk breaks off the Sun, creates terrifying vortex; Should we be worried? | Tech News

SHOCKING! Large chunk breaks off the Sun, creates terrifying vortex; Should we be worried?

In a shocking event, a large mass of the Sun has broken off. This solar material has birthed a vortex in its polar region. Know what its implications can be.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Feb 10 2023, 17:17 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Solar vortex
1/5 The Sun is the largest object in our solar system and is a 4.5 billion-year-old star – a hot glowing ball of hydrogen and helium at the center of the solar system. It is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth, and without its energy, life as we know it could not exist here on our home planet. (Pixabay)
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2/5 The Sun’s volume would need 1.3 million Earths to fill it. Its gravity holds the solar system together, keeping everything from the biggest planets to the smallest bits of debris in orbit around it. The hottest part of the Sun is its core, where temperatures top 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). The Sun’s activity, from its powerful eruptions to the steady stream of charged particles it sends out, influences the nature of space throughout the solar system. (NASA)
Solar vortex
3/5 According to NASA, measuring a “day” on the Sun is complicated because of the way it rotates. It doesn't spin as a single, solid ball. This is because the Sun’s surface isn't solid like Earth's. Instead, the Sun is made of super-hot, electrically charged gas called plasma. This plasma rotates at different speeds on different parts of the Sun. At its equator, the Sun completes one rotation in 25 Earth days. At its poles, the Sun rotates once on its axis every 36 Earth days. (NASA)
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4/5 Above the Sun’s surface are its thin chromosphere and the huge corona (crown). This is where we see features such as solar prominences, flares, and coronal mass ejections. The latter two are giant explosions of energy and particles that can reach Earth. (Pixabay)
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5/5 The Sun doesn’t have moons, but eight planets orbit it, at least five dwarf planets, tens of thousands of asteroids, and perhaps three trillion comets and icy bodies. Also, several spacecraft are currently investigating the Sun including Parker Solar Probe, STEREO, Solar Orbiter, SOHO, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Hinode, IRIS, and Wind. (Pixabay)
Solar vortex
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The Sun has stunned astronomers in a shocking event where a big piece of it has broken apart and created a vortex in the polar region. Check details. (Representative Photo) (NASA)

The Sun has been bursting with incessant solar activity over the recent weeks. Just over the past three days, we have seen multiple solar flare eruptions, solar storms and sunspots which are growing at an alarming rate. And now, in a shocking incident, astronomers have seen a large chunk of the Sun breaking away from its body. This incredibly rare event was followed up with the solar material rotating furiously till it reached the polar region of the star and created a massive vortex. Is this the sign of more terrifying solar storms arriving on Earth?

The incident was reported by Dr. Tamitha Skov, space weather physicist who is also popularly known as the space weather woman. She posted about the incident on her Twitter account and said, “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° here cannot be overstated”.

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The Sun breaks apart

The material breaking apart from the Sun has been described as solar prominence. NASA defines it as a large, bright feature extending outward from the Sun's surface. Unlike solar flares, prominences are anchored to the Sun's surface in the photosphere, and extend outwards into the Sun's hot outer atmosphere, called the corona. They give the appearance of a tornado or a vortex.

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Skov further explained in a subsequent tweet, “More observations of the #SolarPolarVortex reveal it took roughly 8 hours for material to circumnavigate the pole at approximately 60° 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”.

The bigger question is around whether this will have a direct impact on our planet. While the solar prominence in itself will not have an impact on the Earth, it indicates solar disturbances and activity on the star will continue. Ever since the incident, the number of sunspots as well as solar flare eruptions have also dramatically increased, and the current forecast suggests the conditions are going to stay this way for a while.

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First Published Date: 10 Feb, 17:15 IST
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