Coronal Mass Ejections, Solar Flares, Eruptions and Shockwaves

SOHO witnessed and recorded a very remarkable solar eruption on May 13th, 2005.   The eruption sequence that SOHO captured includes a rare combination of footage, most notably, visible shock waves moving through the corona and across the surface of the photosphere and across the surface of the sun itself.  This was immediately  followed by an ideally timed a and longer "running difference" image of the surface at the very end of the eruption sequence.  This well timed image captured in considerable detail, the very same surface features that are outlined by the shockwaves that traversed the sun just moments earlier. 

I organized the raw EIT images chronologically on the right hand side, just as the events unfolded.  At the end of the sequence is the running difference image with pink and blue highlights where surface features revealed in the shockwave propagation and interaction correspond perfectly to surface features recorded in the longer running difference image that followed.  This cannot be a coincidence.

The outline of the very same surface features that are recorded in the processed image are also clearly visible in the outline of the shock wave that moved across the photosphere just moments before.  This is most noticeable by comparing last two shockwave images (1707 and 1727 frames) with the running difference image that followed.  In the last running difference image (the running difference image), we can see a clear and detailed view of the same "fuzzy" surface features that are outlined by the shockwave in the 1727 frame.  In essence, SOHO witnessed and recorded the "perfect storm" and the perfect wave and then took a very well timed snapshot of the surface right afterwards.  This gave us a very detailed look at the surface features that actually caused the shock wave interaction patterns seen in previous images.

The eruption, and shock waves that followed, allow us to watch the interaction patterns and the propagation patterns of these energy waves  as they interact with and reveal clearly definable surface features below.

This particular eruption was then followed by a very timely and much longer running difference image shown at the top and bottom of this page.  The lighting angles and intensity conditions of this snapshot were nearly ideal for revealing the underlying surface features that were responsible for these wave propagation patterns and the unique collisions patterns seen in earlier photos.

The massive surface eruption began around 16:37.  The eruption sent huge shockwaves through the sun's air-like plasma of the corona, and liquid-like plasma of the photosphere striking surface features as it  expanded.  As these energy waves "bumped" into the sun's surface features, a clear and unique outline of the high and low points of the surface emerged.  The surface boundaries that are revealed in the wave propagation patterns are identical to the surface features revealed in the running difference image that followed.

This unique combination of events provided a rare and unusual opportunity to compare a surface snapshot with the outline of shock waves bouncing off SOLID solar surface features.   This was a real stroke of luck followed by an extremely well timed and much longer running difference image.




The Surface Of The Sun