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Giant Tornadoes Seen Erupting From the Sun

from National Geographic News

The sun produces giant tornado-like jets that stretch thousands of miles into space, new satellite data shows. The solar tornadoes typically last about ten minutes and occur near the sun's poles.

"These solar tornadoes are almost a thousand times faster than a terrestrial tornado and are very big," said Spiros Patsourakos, a researcher at George Mason University.

Scientists have known since the 1990s that jets of gas wider than North America were erupting from the sun's poles, but it is only now that they discovered these jets are rotating. That's because a new pair of NASA satellites called STEREO allowed the features to be observed from two directions at once, revealing their three-dimensional structures.

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