Written by Lester Haines, The Register

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has filmed some impressive footage of a coronal mass ejection (CME) – the first such footage to come from the “Small Explorer Mission” to examine the Sun’s lower atmosphere.


Captured on 9 May, the video shows a “giant sheet of solar material” about “five Earths wide and about seven-and-a-half Earths tall” in the field of view. The agency elaborates: “The IRIS imagery focuses in on material of 30,000 kelvins at the base, or foot points, of the CME.

“The line moving across the middle of the movie is the entrance slit for IRIS’s spectrograph, an instrument that can split light into its many wavelengths – a technique that ultimately allows scientists to measure temperature, velocity and density of the solar material behind the slit.”

Since IRIS has to “commit to pointing at certain areas of the Sun at least a day in advance”, there was a certain amount of luck involved in getting the money shot. 

Bart De Pontieu, IRIS boffin at the Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory, enthused: “We focus in on active regions to try to see a flare or a CME. And then we wait and hope that we’ll catch something. This is the first clear CME for IRIS so the team is very excited.”

NASA is building an impressive portfolio of solar eruption videos. Back in April, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spied a “graceful” flare, and just a week before both the SDO and IRIS – in conjunction with other spacecraft – turned their attention to what is to date the “best observed” X-class flare:



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Comments (2)

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    Every body in the Universe radiates energy based on it’s temperature. The Sun radiates a wide spectrum with the following CO2 absorption frequencies[temperatures]

    2.7 micron[800C], 4.3 micron[400C], 14.7 micron[-80C]

    Since Earth only radiates in the 14.7 micron range, more CO2 would absorb MORE incoming than outgoing energy, however the absorption is momentary, followed by an emitted photon of lower energy and longer wavelength. In effect, the atmosphere filters some energy, thereby COOLING the Earth from the Sun and reducing heat loss overnight.

    The ABSURD Kiehl-Trenberth ‘radiation balance chart’ shows Earth receiving 161 watts/square meter of solar energy, then radiating 396 watts/ square meter and then receiving 333 watts/ square meter of BACK RADIATION WARMING. The Earth emits THREE TIMES as much energy as it receives from the full spectrum Sun and “magic gas” is able to provide TWO TIMES the energy of the Sun.

    For more on the Sun’s effect, see “The Reality of Long Range Weather and Climate Forecasts” by Dr Piers Corbyn.

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    Al Shelton


    There we go again. That damnwd human induced CO2 from burning fossil fuels is now causing CMEs.

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