Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Elemental Creation


The Iron Sun Credit: SOHO - EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA
The ultraviolet light emitted by eleven times ionized iron at temperatures over 2 million degrees Fahrenheit was used to record the above picture of the Sun on September 22, 2001, the date of that year's autumnal equinox. The image was made by the EIT camera on board the SOHO spacecraft, a space observatory which can continuously observe the Sun. Eleven times ionized iron is atomic iron with eleven of its electrons stripped away. Here the electrons are stripped by the frantic collisions with other atoms and electrons which occur at the extreme temperatures in the Solar Corona. Since electrons are negatively charged, the resulting ionized iron atom is highly positively charged. Astronomer's "shorthand" for eleven times ionized iron is written "Fe XII", the chemical symbol for iron followed by a Roman numeral 12 (Fe I is neutral iron).
After reading the above article it struck me as being a great title for a blog about science, as I am interested in Science I have decided to make this my science blog... not a daily one but as I find something worth writing or commenting about. So here goes the first for FeXII...
Update 4/12/2007: Moved back to RfaBD!

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