NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) caught on camera a huge ‘Sun-nado’ swirling across the surface of the Sun for 40 hours.
The event happened September 1-3 2015, and was estimated at being over 400,000 miles high and width 5 times greater than the Earth.
A solar proton event (SPE), or “proton storm”, occurs when particles (mostly protons) emitted by the Sun become accelerated either close to the Sun during a flare or in interplanetary space by CME shocks. The events can include other nuclei such as helium ions and HZE ions.
These particles cause multiple effects. They can penetrate the Earth’s magnetic fieldand and cause ionization in the ionosphere. The effect is similar to auroral events, except that protons rather than electrons are involved. Energetic protons are a significant radiation hazard to spacecraft and astronauts.