Astronomy grad student Chad Madsen gives us a peek into his study of super-heated physics on the Sun: “This [video] is an example of running waves emanating from a sunspot observed by the IRIS slit-jaw imager. They look a lot like ripples that appear after you throw a rock into a pond. This movie covers about 80 minutes of observations. Sunspots appear dark in visible light, but those viewed in UV tend to appear bright like this one. The light you’re seeing is coming from triple-ionized silicon (Si IV 1400 A) in the solar transition region, a thin layer of the solar atmosphere where the temperature rises from thousands of degrees to millions of degrees.
Sun, you’re so weird, but I love you anyway.”
IRIS is a NASA small explorer mission developed and operated by LMSAL with mission operations executed at NASA Ames Research center and major contributions to downlink communications funded by the Norwegian Space Center (NSC, Norway) through an ESA PRODEX contract.