296 The strange appearance of a very familiar object

The Sun

A very normal sight in our sky (but don’t look at it with the ‘naked’ eye!), turns out to be anything but ‘normal’ when looked at closely … the Sun is a very violent celestial body and its activities have a direct impact on Earth. 

On 31 Aug 2012, a giant prominence on the sun erupted, sending out particles and a shock wave that traveled near Earth (the 5th picture). This event may have been one of the causes of a third radiation belt that appeared around Earth a few days later, a phenomenon that was observed for the very first time by the newly-launched Van Allen Probes (Wikipedia).

Many of these images are from WiredI have no idea what the last picture is all about, but I like it ... it’s so very pretty.