Observations of a recent change on the surface of the Sun have baffled scientists. Now, they’re discussing whether this has an effect on the earth.
The Sun’s North Pole was surrounded by a tornado-like whirl after a large chunk of its surface broke off, according to NASA.
Scientists were left perplexed after NASA’s James Webb telescope observed the new development, which he caught on a clip that went viral on social media platforms and left many of the space community and researchers confused.
Scientists are still attempting to determine whether this will have any effect on Earth, but until now not much is known.
Last week, space weather forecaster Dr. Tamitha Skov posted the same video on Twitter.
“Talk about Polar Vortex! Material from a northern prominence just broke away from the main filament & is now circulating in a massive polar vortex around the north pole of our Star. Implications for understanding the Sun’s atmospheric dynamics above 55° here cannot be overstated!” she said in a tweet.
The prominence, as defined by NASA, is a sizable bright feature extending from the Sun’s surface. Although there have been other instances of this kind, the scientific community is baffled by this one.
In another tweet, the scientist wrote: “More observations of the #SolarPolarVortex reveal it took roughly 8 hours for material to circumnavigate the pole at approximately 60 degree latitude. This means an upper bound in the estimation of horizontal wind speed in this event is 96 kilometres per second or 60 miles a second!”
Due to the exceptional capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope, this is the first instance of a vortex of this kind that has been discovered, according to Space.com. Although scientists have previously witnessed filaments erupt from the Sun, this is the first time they have witnessed one cause a polar whirlwind.
Although he has never witnessed a vortex like this, Scott McIntosh, a solar physicist and deputy director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, told Space.com that something strange occurs once every solar cycle, or 11 years, near the Sun’s 55-degree latitude.
The most recent prominence, according to McIntosh, is similar to a “hedgerow in the solar plasma” that appears every 11 years in the same location close to the sun’s polar crown. Over this time, there are variations in the ejection of solar material, sunspots, solar radiation, and solar flares.
“It originates at 55 degrees latitude once every solar cycle and begins to march north to the solar poles,” McIntosh said to Space.com.
“It’s pretty strange. It raises a lot of ‘why’ questions. Why does it only migrate towards the pole once before disappearing and reappearing three or four years later in the same region?”