NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recently shared a fascinating timelapse video of a tornado on the Sun’s surface. It swirled across the star’s north pole, prompting astrophotographers to turn their telescopes and cameras towards the Sun. The massive tornado reached the height of around 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers), which makes it, most likely, the tallest tornado ever seen.
[Related reading: Astrophotographer captures a half-million-mile long solar prominence]
The tornado occurred on Saturday, March 18, and its collapse caused the ejection of sun atmosphere’s material into the surrounding space, according to Space Weather. This source adds that this will not affect the Earth. Speaking of Earth, compared to its diameter, the recent solar tornado was 14 times bigger. So no wonder it caused so much buzz and so many astrophotographers wanted to see and capture it as soon as they heard about it.
Many astronomers pointed their telescopes at the sun’s north pole upon learning about the odd occurrence. Andrew McCarthy filmed it up close, saying that he couldn’t imagine a more hellish place. He also took a gigantic 140 MP photo of the solar tornado, and it’s yet to be released.
I spent 3 hours yesterday with my solar telescope pointed at a tall tornado-y looking thing on the sun. This 14-Earths-tall swirling column of plasma was raining moon-sized gobs of incandescent material on the sun. I can't imagine a more hellish place. pic.twitter.com/dewzNEAEJA
— Andrew McCarthy (@AJamesMcCarthy) March 18, 2023
Friday I captured around 200k images of our sun. I asked my friend @TheVastReaches for help working all the data so we could create an incredibly detailed image of our star, and we're nearly done. Take a look at this close crop of the final 140 MP pic we'll be sharing tomorrow: pic.twitter.com/VV16my1U1S
— Andrew McCarthy (@AJamesMcCarthy) March 21, 2023