Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

June 1, 1998

Solar Flares Cause Sun Quakes
Credit: A. G. Kosovichev (Stanford) et al., MDI, SOHO, ESA, NASA

Explanation: An 11th magnitude quake has been recorded on the Sun, immediately following a moderate solar flare. The quake was the first ever recorded on the Sun, but only because astronomers have only recently figured out when and how to find them using the orbiting SOHO spacecraft. Dark waves from the quake can be seen in the above picture spreading out from an explosive bright flare. The solar ripples are similar in appearance to waves caused by a rock thrown into a pond. The magnitude and evolution of these quakes gives information about the physical nature of solar flares, the surface of the Sun, and even the Sun's interior.

Tomorrow's picture: The Butterfly Nebula

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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