May 24, 2024

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What are those red dots that emerge from the sun during an eclipse? – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

What are those red dots that emerge from the sun during an eclipse?  – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Did you see those red blotchy areas around the sun during Monday's total solar eclipse?

Those are called Solar prominence. Although they appear to be made of fire, they are actually explosions of plasma, a hot gas composed of electrically charged hydrogen and helium, extending outward from the surface of the Sun.

Solar accretions flow along the magnetic field generated by the Sun and can last for months. These prominences can extend into space for up to 200,000 miles, roughly the distance between Earth and the Moon – that's roughly 28 times the diameter of our planet.

Total eclipse, captured outside the NBC 5/Telemundo 39 studios on Monday, April 8, 2024.

So, what's the difference between a prominence and a solar flare, or CME?

The prominences are based on the sun's photosphere, the lowest level of the sun's atmosphere, and are not ejected into space.

NASA said that solar flares are giant explosions of X-rays and energy that are released from the sun into space at the speed of light. Traveling at this speed, solar flares can reach Earth in about eight minutes where they can disrupt satellites and communications in Earth's atmosphere.

Continuing medical education They are also shot into space but are slower than flares and travel at about 5% of the speed of light, or approximately 9,300 miles per second. At this speed, it could take between one and three days for a coronal ejection to reach Earth.

When the CME cloud of electrically charged particles passes Earth, some of them are attracted to the magnetic poles and interact with atoms and molecules in our atmosphere, causing the northern lights in the Northern Hemisphere and the southern lights in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Prominences that remain attached to the Sun have no effect on Earth.