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.
Small, Brilliant Diamonds in the Rough
Credit: IRIS, LMSAL/NASA, Chad Madsen
The Sun is well known for its large, boisterous displays, but its finer features also command plenty of awe. This movie shows several small, jewel-like brightenings known as "ultraviolet (UV) bursts" in a turbulent region of the solar atmosphere. Even though these events are small compared to other structures on the Sun, you could safely fit the entire country of France into one of them. UV bursts occur when the magnetic field of the Sun begins to buoyantly float upward through the solar surface, releasing energy as it goes. These small, brilliant events are fascinating because of where they form. Even though they routinely reach temperatures of 80,000 degrees, they exist in the coldest layers of the Sun which tend to be around a comparatively frigid 6,000 degrees.