Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Geophysics on the Sun!!

This amazing series of pics show seismic waves on our sun's surface, produced by a solar flare. Scientists calculated that the amount of energy released by this flare-generated solar quake was about 40,000 times the energy released in the historical 1906 San Francisco quake. Looking at the pics, it may seem like these seismic waves are occuring at a small scale, however, these solar waves traveled for a distance equal to 10 Earth diameters over the course of an hour! That's about 130,000 km/hr!! Seismic surface waves have the ability to travel at far greater velocities than they do here on earth due to the obvious difference between the sun's and earth's compostion. As a gaseous giant, surface waves incur far less attenuation than they would travelling through dense rock here on earth.

To see more upclose and amazing pics of our sun, click here