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Space Science

Monster Solar Tornadoes Discovered 63

Posted by timothy
from the not-just-in-kansas-anymore dept.
astroengine writes "For the first time, huge solar tornadoes have been filmed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) swirling deep inside the solar corona — the sun's superheated atmosphere. But if you're imagining the pedestrian tornadoes that we experience on Earth, think again. These solar monsters, measuring the width of several Earths and swirling at speeds of up to 300,000 kilometers (190,000 miles) per hour, aren't only fascinating structures; they may also trigger violent magnetic eruptions that can have drastic effects on our planet. 'These tornadoes may help to produce favorable conditions for CMEs to occur,' said Xing Li, solar physicist at Aberystwyth University and co-discoverer of the phenomenon."
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Monster Solar Tornadoes Discovered

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  • Significant digits (Score:5, Informative)

    by crow (16139) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:54AM (#39511833) Homepage Journal

    No, you are making the mistake. The conversion in units needs to take into account the precision of the original number to determine where it should be rounded. I doubt the determination of the top speed is within 4,000mph, so the 190K number is better than the 186K number. 200K might even be more fair, but it depends on the original data. Unfortunately, the units conversions are typically done by people who don't understand the concept of significant digits, let alone have any information about how precise the original number really is.

  • by WalksOnDirt (704461) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @02:06PM (#39513867)

    "...the Sun's core is cooler than it's surface."

    Wow, no. From Wikipedia, the Sun's center is 15,700,000 K, the surface is 5,778 K, and the corona is 5,000,000 K.

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