Astronomy - Solar Storms

Solar storms, known as active regions, can be dissected and analyzed by observing them simultaneously in different wavelengths of ultraviolet lights. The active regions below, observed on September 11, 1973, are relatively hot areas that emit more intense ultraviolet radiation than their surroundings; they appear here in lighter colors. Each atom radiates light at certain wavelengths that characterize that atom only. When atoms collide with other fast-moving particles at high temperatures, they lose electrons and become ions. As more electrons are torn off, the light from these ions appears in even-shorter wavelengths, from visible light to ultraviolet and finally X-ray. When light that is characteristic of a particular ion is observed, we know it was emitted from a region where temperature and density favor formation of that ion and thus, we can observe different layers of the sun's atmosphere.
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