Sun's spectacular 'Canyon of Fire' on Halloween stuns scientists

The Sun's massive 'canyon of fire' on Halloween, a colossal eruption of a magnetic filament, left scientists and stargazers in awe as it stretched across the southern hemisphere.

| Updated on: Nov 03 2023, 22:13 IST
Aditya -L1 Mission: ISRO’s maiden solar mission heading toward the Sun
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1/5 ISRO's Aditya-L1 mission, launched on September 2, 2023, marks India's inaugural dedicated mission to study the Sun's photosphere, chromosphere, and corona. The spacecraft is now en route to its ultimate destination, the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1 (L1).   (ANI)
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2/5 Lagrange points are unique positions in space where the gravitational forces of two massive bodies, in this case, the Sun and Earth, perfectly balance the centripetal force required for a smaller object, like a spacecraft, to remain in sync. These points minimize the need for orbit corrections and fuel consumption, making them ideal for scientific missions. (ANI)
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3/5 Among the five Lagrange points, L1 is especially significant because it is situated between the Sun and Earth, offering a prime location for spacecraft. This positioning enables continuous observation of both primary bodies, unbroken communication with Earth, and an unobstructed view of celestial objects. (ANI)
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4/5 Aditya-L1 will adopt a 'Halo orbit' around L1, situated approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Halo orbits are three-dimensional paths around a Lagrange Point, providing continuous visibility from Earth, resembling a halo. (ANI)
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5/5 Space missions, such as the International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3), the Genesis mission, ESA's LISA Pathfinder, China's Chang'e 5 lunar orbiter, and NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Recovery (GRAIL) mission, have previously leveraged the Sun-Earth L1 point to enhance our understanding of space and monitor space weather events. Several operational spacecraft currently occupy this location, playing a crucial role in providing early warnings about adverse space weather events, safeguarding orbiting space assets and ground-based infrastructure. (ANI)
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On Halloween, the Sun surprised everyone with a massive 'canyon of fire’ caused by a massive solar eruption. (Unsplash)

The Sun has been acting up over the recent months and space scientists have been privy to some amazing sights. And now, yet another such spectacle has played out and this time during a festival. On October 31, Halloween took an astronomically awesome turn when the Sun threw up a colossal 'canyon of fire' stretching across its southern hemisphere. This mesmerising spectacle resulted from a massive eruption of a magnetic filament originating from our star, reported. This remarkable phenomenon quickly captured the attention of scientists and stargazers alike.

The enormous magnetic solar filaments, composed of electrified gas, known as plasma, hovered above the Sun's surface. These filaments trace their path through the Sun's atmosphere under the influence of the Sun's magnetic field. When disturbances in this magnetic field occur, these filaments become unstable, leading to extraordinary eruptions, as reported by

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A video documenting the eruption reveals the filament's gradual acceleration, culminating in a moment of instability and the awe-inspiring event that unfolded.

Earth's Brush with Solar Fireworks

This eruption also triggered a phenomenon known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). In a CME, charged plasma from the Sun's corona—the uppermost layer of its atmosphere is forcefully ejected into space. NASA's models suggest a possibility of a glancing impact with Earth, expected around November 4, as reported by

Should a portion of this coronal mass ejection head toward our planet, it could give rise to potent streams of magnetised solar wind. As these solar winds reach Earth, they may spark the creation of breathtaking auroras in the subsequent days. Auroras, also known as the aurora borealis (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the aurora australis (in the Southern Hemisphere), result from highly charged particles from the Sun colliding with Earth's upper atmosphere at astonishing speeds, reaching up to 45 million miles per hour (approximately 72 million kilometres per hour). Earth's magnetic field plays a crucial role in redirecting these particles towards the planet's north and south poles.

In a rare celestial treat, the Sun's Halloween 'canyon of fire' reminds us of the captivating and ever-changing wonders of our solar system, leaving scientists and space enthusiasts eager to witness more of these awe-inspiring events.

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First Published Date: 03 Nov, 22:13 IST