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We're DEFINITELY Not In Kansas Anymore, Toto
February 17, 2012 7:21 PM   Subscribe

A brief video of a tornado on the surface of the sun posted by NPR, as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (links to various sizes and qualities of downloads here). The tornado is larger than Earth itself and has gusts up to 300,000 miles per hour.
posted by briank (52 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy Shit that is awesome
posted by holdkris99 at 7:24 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


The early 21st century is such a cock tease. We have access to all these breathtaking, wondrous images of outer space, but lack the technology to actually travel there ourselves.
posted by riruro at 7:25 PM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Why would you possibly want to go there?
posted by Seiten Taisei at 7:27 PM on February 17, 2012 [17 favorites]


That is an amazing video.
posted by carter at 7:27 PM on February 17, 2012


For those who are wondering, 300,000 mph = 133 km/s or 1/2300 * c.
posted by overyield at 7:29 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


riruro: We have access to all these breathtaking, wondrous images of outer space, but lack the technology to actually travel there ourselves.

We have the technology, and have done since April 12, 1961.

What we lack is the will to use it. "Cock tease" is a wholly inadequate phrase to express the degree of tragedy here.
posted by sourcequench at 7:29 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Solarcane.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:30 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


We have access to all these breathtaking, wondrous images of outer space, but lack the technology to actually travel there ourselves.

That's what I love about Danny Boyle's Sunshine: The idea that despite the consequences of getting closer and closer to the Sun there would be people that just would not be able to resist and the knowledge that I am one of those people.
posted by holdkris99 at 7:30 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


but lack the technology to actually travel there ourselves.

Oh, I don't know. Smoke some bud, turn on your hi-fi, put on some early Pink Floyd, set the controls ...
posted by philip-random at 7:35 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hate the text in that link so much.

No, the Sun is not an "extremely active star". And thanks for the helpful comparison to an actual tornado.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:39 PM on February 17, 2012


I feel negligent in not including the rest of that sentence: The Sun is an extremely active star, regularly spitting radiation and atomic particles into space. No, really? It's spitting radiation into space? And atomic particles?? Wow. That sure is extremely active for a star, indeed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:41 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Might as well be walking on the sun.
posted by hellojed at 7:41 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, the Sun is not an "extremely active star".

No kidding. The sun retired from show business in 1987.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:42 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but it's a dry heat.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 7:42 PM on February 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


Oh, I don't know. Smoke some bud, turn on your hi-fi, put on some early Pink Floyd

If you're looking for epic ambient music to accompany your sun tornado, space.com has you covered.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2012


Wait a minute...the sun is real??
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:45 PM on February 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why would you possibly want to go there?

Not a Star Trek fan I see.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:46 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


There wasn't just one, there were four of them in that video.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:46 PM on February 17, 2012


wow! Very impressive, thanks for posting this.
posted by dhruva at 7:46 PM on February 17, 2012


I'm guessing that climbing into storm cellar isn't going to be of much help here.

(cool link, thanks)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:50 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


See! Redistribution of Wealth is always wrong!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:50 PM on February 17, 2012


Can you believe that thing orbits the earth? Crazy, man!
posted by Mister_A at 7:51 PM on February 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


Why would you possibly want to go there?

To escape the Borg using your metaphasic shield, of course. Like, DUH.
posted by Dasein at 7:54 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why would you possibly want to go there?
To escape the Borg using your metaphasic shield, of course


Dude, that's science fiction. Claiming that metaphasic shields are real is like saying there are tornadoes on the surface of the sun or something.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:01 PM on February 17, 2012


When I was a kid, I read an astronomy book with a black-and-white plate of galaxies. Hundreds of spiral and bar and cluster galaxies. Each galaxy represented hundreds of billions of stars, with maybe hundreds of millions of inhabitable worlds, and tens of millions of alien cultures. I wanted to go there, so bad. I yearned for it so much.


Oh, we're fuckin' going, guy. Believe It.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:03 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just love our Mr. Sun!
posted by Quasimike at 8:03 PM on February 17, 2012


If my math is right, and this time of night it probably isn't, a solarcane traveling 300,000 mph would take just 4.8 seconds to cross the state of Kansas from west to east.
posted by postel's law at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, stuff like this really drives home the point that the universe is a big and amazing place. Wouldn't it be awesome if we devoted as much time and energy to exploring all the amazing things happening out there, like this, than at trying to force our way in to get a peek inside women's vaginas just to make extra sure they deserve to be allowed to have an abortion?

As a species, we seem to have recently elevated wallowing in petty shit to the level of high art. Nice to see a reminder that the universe remains amazing and strange all the same.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:05 PM on February 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


If my math is right, and this time of night it probably isn't, a solarcane traveling 300,000 mph would take just 4.8 seconds to cross the state of Kansas from west to east.

<cheapshot>

Yeah, but who would notice?

</cheapshot>
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:10 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Millions of years from now, the Autarch will never believe this could've ever have happened.
posted by NoMich at 8:11 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man some weird mondegreen-esque permutation of Violent Femmes is gonna be stuck in my head all day now.

When I moonwalkin' I strut my stuff, man I'm so strung out
I'm high as a kite I just might stop to check you out

Let me go on like a twister on the sun,
Let me go on big hands I know you're the one

Hard EMPs, from Spain to Greece, I don't even know why
My girlfriend she's at the end she is starting to fry

posted by BrotherCaine at 8:13 PM on February 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, but who would notice?

Nobody, because everyone would be dead from being within 400 miles of a solarcane.
posted by postel's law at 8:15 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fair enough.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2012


Here's some other examples of tornadoes where we don't expect them:

A tornado on Jupiter.
A tornado on a black hole.
A tornado in a pond.

Tornadoes are truly everywhere!
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:27 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gravity whirl wind
Ion spin sends birth of past light
to the eye of Earth
posted by Mblue at 8:29 PM on February 17, 2012


Incidentally, I have that RSS feed for NPR news on my browser's homepage (yes, I use My Yahoo! and I have since 1998, and I'm a dinosaur, thank you very much) and while I like NPR, the crap nature of the science reporting in this link is somewhat representative of a general crappiness of the written web stories from that feed/site. I haven't removed the feed, but I've learned to be content with the headlines because the tiny three paragraph "stories" are usually a waste of time.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:49 PM on February 17, 2012


Dammit, I didn't even know Disaster Area was playing!
posted by hypersloth at 8:58 PM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


*sees extreme beauty; extends trembling hand*

OW!! Hot! HotHOTHot!!! Owie! Ouch! Hurt!

*blows on fingers*

And you want to go WHERE??
posted by BlueHorse at 9:16 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Glory be.
posted by Senator at 9:25 PM on February 17, 2012


Can you believe that thing orbits the earth? Crazy, man!

Did you know if the earth was 10 feet closer to the sun we'd all burn up and 10 feet further away we'd all freeze to death!!!!!!!
posted by maxwelton at 10:42 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Get Jan De Bont on the phone and give us the Twister sequel we all deserve.
posted by sparkletone at 10:44 PM on February 17, 2012


To try to put that in perspective..... imagine standing on the Earth at the equator. A wall of flame starts a short distance away, and heads away from you, traveling along the equator, at 300,000 miles per hour.

How long will it take to go all the way around the planet, and engulf you?

Five minutes.
posted by Malor at 10:55 PM on February 17, 2012


Five minutes.
...Time enough... I'll be in my bunk.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 11:18 PM on February 17, 2012


He's an angry god.
posted by Trochanter at 1:43 AM on February 18, 2012


Who even knew there were trailer parks on the sun?
posted by kcds at 5:46 AM on February 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


The moral of this story, as the morals of all stories that involve the Sun is:

Do not mess with the Sun. the Sun will fuck you up and never notice. You are like a bug to the Sun, if you were way way bigger than you are and the bug were way way smaller. Treat the Sun with respect; no, really!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:31 AM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not only are there trailer parks on the Sun, the trailers are the size of California. The insurance paperwork for this event is going to be as high as Everest. They're gonna have to call in adjusters and power line crews from Alpha Centauri. And if this is the start of an outbreak, watch for the solar constant to start dropping noticeably as the GSP takes a hit.
posted by localroger at 7:00 AM on February 18, 2012


The idea that despite the consequences of getting closer and closer to the Sun there would be people that just would not be able to resist and the knowledge that I am one of those people

As much as I value the knowledge of such things and the opportunity to see them, I don't want to be anywhere near the sun. Or on the Moon. I wish humanity a long and happy life among the stars, but I'd rather stay on the cool, green hills of Earth, personally.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:01 AM on February 18, 2012


Get Jan De Bont on the phone and give us the Twister sequel we all deserve.

Helen Hunt is available.[/cheapshot]

Also: since the phenomenon is larger than the Earth to begin with, it wouldn't have to be travelling at all to cover Kansas. It could just rest on top of it.
posted by Trurl at 8:03 AM on February 18, 2012


Why would you possibly want to go there?

How could you not? Sundiver bitches!
posted by Fizz at 8:37 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a comment somewhere in another thread from the last month(ish) (that I will never find) that makes a very severe/dismissive comment about those who would like more space travel based on the fact that the amount of fuel it takes to go anywhere in space is a very, very huge amount. Obviously when we've advanced to teleportation and other differently-fueled travel styles, this will all be much better for everyone.
posted by Glinn at 10:49 AM on February 18, 2012


I love science.

told Fox News that the tornado might be as large as the Earth itself and have gusts up to 300,000 miles per hour.

Aaand now I don't believe any of it.

Seriously - what's driving the vortex to those speeds? The visuals make it look like it's magnetically driven in addition to the anchored convective and pressure.
Actually, WTF is the viscosity of solar material in that region? Is that plasma or what? Is there some computer program to model this?

No, really, I want to know. I read the Adam Frank thing. Just whet my appetite.

Talk about cock tease. I love science, know nothing of the language/higher maths. Argh!
posted by Smedleyman at 1:22 PM on February 19, 2012


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