Huge solar tornado discovered
The superb spatial and temporal resolution of Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) allows us to observe the solar atmosphere in great detail. Using the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board SDO, we are able to find spectacular rotation of material at solar prominences and the coronal cavities above them. Quite often, big coronal mass ejections will occur after these rotations are observed. The images and animated movies shown here are for a spectacular event observed on Sept 25 2011 and a study of this event will be presented in the National Astronomy Meeting 2012 and submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal by us (Dr. Xing Li, Dr. Huw Morgan and Mr. Drew Leonard). The tornado can be as wide as five earths.
Here are time lapse images of such a rotation observed at 171Å channel of AIA:
The tornado can be better viewed from a movie observed at 171, 193 and 211 Å: