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Space Science

Telescope Spots Solar Tsunami 76

scdeimos writes "The prototype of a new solar patrol telescope in New Mexico recorded a tsunami-like shock wave rolling across the visible face of the Sun following a major flare event on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The shock wave, known as a Moreton wave, also destroyed or compressed two filaments of cool gas at opposite sides of the solar hemisphere." From the article: "'These large scale 'blast' waves occur infrequently, however, are very powerful. They quickly propagate in a matter of minutes covering the whole Sun, sweeping away filamentary material,' said Dr. K. S. Balasubramaniam. 'It is unusual to see such powerful waves encompassing the whole sun from ground based observatories. Its significance comes from the fact that these waves are occurring near solar minimum, when intense activity is yet to pick up.'"
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Telescope Spots Solar Tsunami

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  • Aha! (Score:4, Funny)

    by locokamil ( 850008 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:57AM (#17191442) Homepage
    So that's where Disaster Area's stunt ship crash landed...
  • by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:02AM (#17191484)
    The shock wave, known as a Moreton wave, also destroyed or compressed two filaments of cool gas at opposite sides of the solar hemisphere.

    It totally sucks. I mean that was some seriously awesome gas it destroyed. I'm so bummed right now.
    • by Tuqui ( 96668 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:30AM (#17191594) Homepage
      Did you check the filaments photos? []. It looks like the sun is asking something.
      • by Joebert ( 946227 )
        That, or the reason Superman & the Riddler never got along was because they were both from out of this world.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by fyoder ( 857358 )
        No, that's just an ad agency experiment. Check the caption []. Looks promising, but clearly a ways to go before they can do multicharacter messages.
        • You cant read the fineprint? it says do not look into the sun! its not an adverticement, its a warning sign. Due to heavy storms the ! has become ? guess the tech still doesnt work out well.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          No, that's just an ad agency experiment.

          I got it. the symbols are

          "? . / i"

          Is clear that is an ad from Slashdot = i?/. => I ask at slashdot.

          Wooah. Slashdot Solar Ads!! and Google didn't even begin one.
      • 42
    • Amen, dude! Besides, those nasa guys weren't even smart enough to take the pictures during daytime. The sun is all dark and grey.
    • Nobody has mentioned yet how fucking awesome this is. I expected you would, with your "seriously radical" subject line, but you didn't.

      It's a huge tsunami of terrible nuclear fire. A gigantic shock wave of deadly radioactive plasma. Large enough and forceful enough to sustain itself across the surface of the sun, obliterating the few visible features it has. You're in awe when somebody says "the explosion would be visible from the moon" but this is unfathomably larger. It's immense enough to be an astonish

  • by jfclavette ( 961511 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:08AM (#17191506)
    ... to my solar tsunami relief fund. Wire your money to my Swiss bank account and I'll see that the money be properly used. I have confidence in Slashdot's readers generosity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dangitman ( 862676 )
      I adopted a filament of gas who was a refuge from the tsunami. I urge you all to do likewise and open your hearts and your houses to the victims.
  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:12AM (#17191524)
    ...thousands of scientists (and people who think they are scientists) are feverishly work how to turn this news into [1] some sort of apocalyptic press release and [2] grant applications.

    Me? Cynical? Nah!
  • How's FEMA gonna handle this?

    Are they gonna send aid after it gets dark?
    • FEMA is too busy trying to save itself. Superman will take care of this. When the Fortress of Solitude melts over while he's bonking Lois Lane, the tsunami rays will bounce off his naked "buns of steel" and cancel out the rest of the tsunami rays. Problem sovled with FEMA bonking anything.
    • First they were told to find a place where the sun don't shine, and now this... I'm sure they are doing a hackuva job.
  • Good thing my Tinfoil hat protects me from these governmental ()*N*$VY^I@IVN(: B!NO CARRIER
  • Northern lights (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oddeirik ( 970950 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:35AM (#17191614)
    With this recent sun activity people in the northern regions of the globe should be able to see Northern Lights, probably stronger than the usual flares since the sun is now (almost) at a minimum.
    Although I guess it's a bit of bad luck for Discovery and it's crew with the chance of powerful radiation storms...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vreejack ( 68778 )
      Only if the flares are pointed at us. But most flares (this one included) are not.
  • In Soviet Russia (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WetCat ( 558132 )
    Seriously, in Moscow I just experienced short random interruptions in AM broadcasts jiust right now. Moments of silence.
    Could it be the result of a solar flare?
    • by SeaDour ( 704727 )
      Remember this flare was last Wednesday. The sun is actually quiet at the moment -- check for the latest info.
  • Kilotons, Megatons, now Moretons!
  • "They quickly propagate in a matter of minutes covering the whole Sun, sweeping away filamentary material."

    The circumference of the sun is 4,373,000 km. Call "matter of minutes" 10 minutes = 600 seconds. Divide circumference by two since the wave propagates in both directions. The wave is travelling at 3600 km/s. That's pretty damn fast.
  • An animation [] showing the wave moving across the sun.
  • by szyzyg ( 7313 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @12:15PM (#17195434)
    This one shows the whole event and then replays it zoomed in on the sunspot and on the filament destruction ar_tsunami/ []

    A couple of days ago if you googled 'Solar Tsunami' the top hit was from some nutter who had a whole website that was promoting the theory that underneath the photosphere there was a solid iron-silica surface, thankfully the scientists had enough imagination to call it a tsunami rather than a Moreton wave.

    I can think of some other crackpot science that needs to be googlebombed into non-significance.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde