Sun  ID: 10933

Super Hot Tsunami

On March 6, 2012, giant waves known as "solar tsunamis" swept across the sun just after an eruption of an X5.4-class flare, the second largest solar flare since 2006. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite mapped the evolution of the waves—some stretching across the entire 865,000-mile width of the sun—as they rippled outward from the flare at speeds greater than one million miles per hour. These waves, officially called "EIT waves," may be what triggers fast coronal mass ejections, the spectacular clouds of ejected solar material that sometimes follow a flare, achieve escape velocity and hurtle into space. The video below shows two distinct waves emerging after the flare: the first spreads in all directions; the second is narrower, moving toward the southeast. It is likely that both are connected to one of the two coronal mass ejections spotted about an hour and a half after the eruption.

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Story Credits

Walt Feimer (HTSI)
Tom Bridgman (GST)
Scott Wiessinger (USRA)

Video Editor:
Scott Wiessinger (USRA)

Scott Wiessinger (USRA)
Genna Duberstein (USRA)

Lead Writer:
Karen Fox (ADNET)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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