Telescope spots solar tsunami
Dec. 7, 2006: The prototype of a new solar patrol telescope in New Mexico recorded a tsunami-like shock wave rolling across the visible face of the Sun following a major flare even on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, at 18:28 Universal Time (11:28 MST). The shock wave, known as a Moreton wave, also destroyed or compressed two filaments of cool gas at opposite sides of the solar hemisphere.
"These large scale 'blast' waves occur infrequently, but are very powerful. They quickly propagate in a matter of minutes covering the whole Sun, sweeping away filamentary material," said Dr. K. S. Balasubramaniam, of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Sunspot, NM, who is studying these and other phenomena. "It is unusual to see such powerful waves encompassing the whole sun from ground based observatories. Its significance comes from the fact that these waves are occurring near solar minimum, when intense activity is yet to pick up."
This large, "naked eye" sunspot region had an outburst just a day ago, and seems to have built-up tremendous energy in a short period of time.