25 May 2024 - Mission Day: 10403 - DOY: 146

Coronal Mass Inflows

Click on images for movies. Movie comments use the face of the clock as reference for position

LASCO C2 difference image
Inflows at 3:30 and 11

LASCO C2 difference image
Inflows at 8:30 and 10

LASCO C2 difference image
Inflows between 8 and 11

LASCO C2 difference image
Inflows at 1, 3-4, and 11

Print media: 4-image montage: JPEG, High-res TIFF.

Caption: Solar physicists studying the Sun's outer corona are very familiar with plasma clouds taking off towards interplanetary space. So familiar, in fact, that the opposite phenomenon was not discovered until about a year after it was first recorded by the LASCO instrument on SOHO. The discovery that matter starts falling towards the Sun from heights of about 2.7 million kilometres was startling to everyone in this field of research.

About 8000 inflow events have now been logged - most of them since 1998 while the Sun has been at its most active, as judged by the high count of sunspots. Even with the powerful LASCO C2 coronagraph, the inflows are hard to detect among the much more prominent and much more frequent outflows and coronal mass ejections.

The coronal inflows are the subject of an article in the 20 November 2001 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, where the scientists who found them suggest that they are caused by frequent local adjustments of the Sun's magnetic field.

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LASCO (Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph)

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Last modification: July 27, 2020

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