IRIS Movie of the Day
At least once a week a movie of the Sun taken by NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) is posted by one of the scientists operating the instrument.
Coronal rain driven by an M-class flare
Credit: IRIS, LMSAL/NASA, Milan Gosic (LMSAL/BAERI)
On 24-Jul-2016, at the solar limb, IRIS captured an M1.9 class flare: a sudden flash of light visible on the solar surface at the beginning of the movie. During flares, a large amount of magnetic energy is released and transferred into heating of the chromosphere and corona. In continuation of the movie, we see flare driven "coronal rain" which represents plasma that is rapidly cooled from millions down to a few tens of thousands of Kelvins. This plasma is channeled back to the solar surface along magnetic field lines. Bright pixels that stands out clearly at the end of the movie are not caused by solar radiation but happen whenever high energy particles hit our CCD camera when IRIS is passing through the Earth's radiation belts.