Okay, so the Sun can’t really go surfing, but maybe you could go surfing on the Sun.
Okay, so you can’t really go surfing on the Sun, but if you could, the Sun’s got some pretty sick waves. It’s time for this week’s edition of Sciency Words, where we take a look at a new and interesting scientific term to help us all expand our scientific vocabularies together. Today’s term is:
Sometimes, a solar flare will be so powerful, so intense, that it will cause the surface of the Sun to ripple. Sometimes it will throw up enormous tidal waves of scalding hot plasma. These waves are called Moreton waves, named after Gail Moreton, the astronomer who first discovered them.
In 2009, NASA astronomers observed a Moreton wave (or “solar tsunami,” as they called it) that was 60,000 miles high (100,000 km) traveling at a speed of 150 miles per second (250 km/s). That observation ended any doubts scientists had about the existence of these waves.
So in conclusion, do not go surfing on the Sun.