Click on image for full size
Mighty Streams of Plasma Flow under Solar Surface
News story originally written on September 3, 1997
With the help of the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) spacecraft, scientists have made an exciting discovery about the Sun.
The discovery is that there are streams of plasma flowing beneath the surface of the Sun. Plasma is hot, electrically-charged gas. These plasma streams are the smallest things found inside the Sun, but each stream is still large enough to hold two Earths!
It is thought that these streams affect solar "weather" or activity. This new finding will help scientists to understand solar activity which directly affects the Earth. High solar activity can cause occasional power and communications disruptions on Earth.
For the last year, the SOHO spacecraft has been a solar observatory. It is 930,000 miles away from the Earth and has 12 scientific instruments. Scientists are excited about this recent discovery and look forward to future observations as the Sun enters its next active cycle around the year 2001.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
It was late in the evening when two astronauts approached the spinning 3,000 pound satellite. They reached out to grab the lost satellite and bring it safely back to the U.S. space shuttle. This may sound...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more