Benjamin Dean Astronomy Lectures
Solar Spicules: Dynamic Jets that Power the Sun's Atmosphere
Dr. Juan Martinez-Sykora, Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory & Bay Area Environmental Research Institute
At any moment, the Sun's lower atmosphere is permeated by tens of millions of colossal jets known as spicules, measuring up to 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) in length and propelling plasma into the upper atmosphere at speeds on the order of 100 kilometers (60 miles) per second.
Despite being observed for a century, their origin has been poorly understood. For the first time, thanks to a combination of computer simulations and observations by ground-based telescopes and spaceborne observatories, some of the mysteries of spicules are being peeled away.