Solar tornadoes are as scary as they sound

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tornadoesSPACE – We’ve all seen the strength of tornadoes, but did you know they don’t just happen here on Earth?

Maybe it’s the heat, but Mother Nature is much crankier on the sun. Solar tornadoes rotate at thousands of miles per hour and have a diameter that ranges anywhere from 900 to 35 hundred miles. That’s wider than the width of the United States.

If the speed and diameter of these super-sized storms don’t impress you, maybe their height will.

Solar tornadoes extend from the surface of the sun all the way up to the Sun’s corona, its upper atmosphere.

In the June issue of Nature, scientists conclude solar tornadoes are the reason the Coronal temperatures are 300 times hotter than the surface of the sun, which seems counter intuitive.

NASA wants to know more about the sun, its atmosphere and solar tornadoes; so they launched a new telescope into space via a Pegasus missile. The telescope is fittingly named IRIS and scientists hope it will help them understand – among other things – how solar storms interfere with our telecommunications here on Earth.