Sun Surfing (Sciency Words: Moreton Waves)

Ja09 Sun Surfing

Okay, so the Sun can’t really go surfing, but maybe you could go surfing on the Sun.

Ja09 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.

6 thoughts on “Sun Surfing (Sciency Words: Moreton Waves)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.