Solar Wind virtually stopped. Normally our Sun emits a wind of between five and ten energetic particles per cubic centimeter moving outward at about 500 kilometers per second. Late on May 10, however, this gale was reduced to a mere breeze of one particle per every five cubic centimeters. The Sun's Corona was suddenly able to flow out into the Solar System relatively unimpeded, creating beams of energetic electrons. One such beam apparently reached Earth's North Magnetic Pole, and was seen as the unusual X-ray aurora digitally reconstructed in the above false-color image. Our atmosphere absorbed the electrons. This display gave direct evidence, however, that Earth's North Magnetic Pole was connected to the Sun, while the Earth's South Magnetic Pole connected to the distant Solar System. The Solar Wind returned to normal on May 12.
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: aurora - solar wind - Solar Corona
Publications with words: aurora - solar wind - Solar Corona