How to Explain a Solar Flare
06-15-2011, 10:23 AM
|How to Explain a Solar Flare
Explain to the class the sun is a ball of burning gas that creates energy.
Note that the sun has sunspots. These spots tend to be cooler than the rest of the sun. Explain that they are cooler because the space that would be burning gas pressure is replaced by more intense magnetic pressure, forming a bubble. The bubble appears darker.
Tell the class that the magnetic field begins to expand, and gets twisted similar to a rubber band getting stretched and twisted. Ask them what happens when you pull a rubber band tightly, like you are going to shoot it, and it slips off. Students should answer that it travels across the room, rapidly.
Explain that the magnetic field is stretched and twisted tightly like the rubber band. Suddenly the energy releases, like the rubber band slipping off the finger.
Note that the force spreads. Tell the class that there is hot material near the sunspot called plasma that feeds energy to the magnetic bubble. When the bubble bursts, it spews out the plasma with an explosion. This shoots out a huge fiery extension that's highly magnetized and called a solar flare.
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