Slide Show page 5 for
The Sun in Time

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eit_304_s.jpg (2906 bytes)

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Modern telescopes, located on orbiting satellites outside the Earth's atmosphere, give us special insights into the structure of the solar atmosphere.  Using different wavelengths of light (shown here: 171 nanometers1, 195 nanometers, 284 nanometers, and 304 nanometers), we detect the gases of  the corona of the Sun which are at the indicated temperatures (in Kelvin2).   

*SOHO -- Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
                  http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/
*TRACE -- Transition Region and Coronal Explorer
                  http://vestige.lmsal.com/TRACE/

SOHO* EIT 304
80,000 K
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TRACE* 171
1,000,000 K
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(91 kB jpeg image)

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eit_284_s.jpg (3621 bytes)

SOHO EIT 195
1,500,000 K
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SOHO EIT 284
2,000,000 K
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The Sun Affects the Earth Environment
November 6, 1997: 12:36 UT

A large coronal mass ejection (CME) which originated from an X-9.43 flare, can be seen in the image to the right (on the right of the central occulting disk).   This image was recorded by the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) on board SOHO.  The small image in the lower left shows the effects of energetic protons (E > 100 MeV 4 ) on the LASCO detector.  The energetic particles arrived at the position of SOHO at 13:46 UT, an hour after the CME. 

lascomp_s.jpg (7743 bytes)

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1 nanometer -- 1/1,000,000,000 (or 1/109) meters

2 Kelvin -- an absolute temperature scale,  273 K=0 C, 373 K = 100 C

3 Flares are rated according to x-ray energy output.  The lowest flux flares are designated by B, then C flares are ten times greater,  M flares have 100 times the flux of a B flare, and finally, X flares have greater than 1000 times the flux of B flares.  Within each flare class, there is a further subdivision so that a B 8.0 flare has more flux than a B 2.5 flare.

4 1 MeV -- 1 Million Electron Volts, a unit of energy defined in terms of the carge on an electron.  1 electron volt=1.6 x 10-19 joule

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