THE solar orbiter probe filmed a “Plasma Serpent” passing through the Sun’s atmosphere. The curious phenomenon, observed on September 5th, exhibited undulating motion due to the deformation of the magnetic field and was caused by its interaction with a cold plasma flow along the solar surface🇧🇷
The journey lasted about 3 hours, although the European Space Agency (ESA) released a video with the “snake” moving from side to side for just a few seconds in time lapse mode.
The fact is even more incredible when one considers the vastness of the distances involved, in which the plasma traveled at a speed of 170 kilometers per second. Watch!
The phenomenon originated in a region of intense activity and may have been a precursor to a large solar flare seen later. These bursts of energy, called coronal mass ejections, hurl billions of tons of plasma and other particles into space.
Such ejected material creates a powerful wave in the interplanetary medium, with effects felt on Earth. This can lead to geomagnetic storms, with the potential to disrupt technology systems such as satellites, radio communications, power grids and navigational signals.
An occasional coronal mass ejection still lights the skies with auroras. The dazzling lights can be seen more often in the polar regions, where the Earth’s magnetic field is weaker — amplifying the entry of particles into the atmosphere.
The solar flare that followed the event was one of the most intense detected by Solar Orbiter to date. It is worth pointing out that the ESA satellite in partnership with NASA was launched in early 2020 and recently completed a thousand days of operations.
Other instruments and satellites were also able to capture the energetic particles emitted, such as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe probe.