Look at the "serpent" slithering across the surface of the Sun

The European Space Agency has published a video that the Solar Orbiter probe took on September 5 as it approached

to the sun. It shows how a stream of gases, resembling a snake, glides over the surface of a star.

Researchers believe that this unusual flowformed by cold atmospheric gases suspended by a magnetic field in the hotter surrounding plasma of the Sun. Matter in the stream moves along a particularly long filament of the magnetic field that extends from one side of the star to the other.

Plasma is a state of matter in which gasso hot that its atoms begin to lose some of their electrons. As a result, gas particles are converted into positively charged ions that are susceptible to the effects of a magnetic field. All the gas in the Sun's atmosphere is plasma, since the temperature here exceeds 1,000,000°C.

The video shows fast-paced,taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager camera of the Solar Orbiter probe. The stream of cold gas moved across the surface of the Sun at a speed of about 170 km / s, but, given the size of the star, it took him about three hours to complete his journey.

The researchers add that the "serpent" originated inan area of ​​solar activity that exploded a little later, ejecting billions of tons of plasma into space during a coronal mass ejection. Solar matter from this flare passed over the Parker probe. The researchers believe that the serpent was a harbinger of the outbreak, but a detailed analysis of Solar Orbiter observations and samples collected by Parker will help to better understand the connection of events and study solar activity.

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On the cover: Artistic illustration of the Solar Orbiter approaching the Sun. Image: ESA/ATG medialab