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Celestial Fireworks: Sun Explosions May Be Spectacular Addition to Upcoming Solar Eclipse

Sun's Massive Explosions Could Enhance the Solar Eclipse Experience
Source: Unsplash

The solar eclipse may also feature intense activity on the sun.

Apr. 7 2024, Published 9:20 a.m. ET

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The upcoming solar eclipse on April 8 is stirring up excitement, with the potential for added celestial fireworks.

Experts suggest a series of significant solar explosions might accompany the event, offering a captivating display. Set to be fully visible over western New York shortly after 2 p.m., this eclipse will traverse the nation.

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Solar physicist Ryan French from the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colorado, speculates that the total eclipse of the sun by the moon could coincide with coronal mass ejections.

These eruptions occur when immense particles from the sun are ejected into space and typically take one to three days to reach Earth, according to NASA.

French envisions the possibility of witnessing a CME as a distinctive spiral-like structure high in the sun's atmosphere. However, he notes that for such phenomena to be observable from Earth and not obscured by the moon's totality, they must occur just over the sun's edge, reported.

Solar flares, similar to CMEs but with a much swifter arrival to Earth in mere minutes, are also within the realm of possibility.

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Adding to the potential spectacle is the occurrence of solar prominences — expansive and luminous rings expelled outward by the sun.

French highlights the occasional eruption of prominences, describing how they detach from the sun's surface and extend into the solar system.

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While previous months have seen such eruptions, each promising a captivating show during a total solar eclipse, even non-eruptive prominences closer to the sun's surface may still offer a captivating view.

Amir Caspi, another scientist based in Colorado at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, cautions that despite the allure of eclipses, spotting these natural wonders can be challenging due to their brief duration over fixed points.

Nonetheless, he emphasizes the dynamic nature of the sun, where processes unfold rapidly, such as solar flares or CMEs, offering a glimmer of hope for captivating observations during the eclipse.


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