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Originally posted by Pauligirl
Originally posted by Vandalour
thanks, glad you like it.
Do tell if you find anything
There's a guy at the sungazers site that's really good about answering questions on this topic. I've emailed him a link to this thread. I'll post his answer when it comes in.
It's a combination of an internal reflection due to the extremely bright planet, and an artifact of the data processing method we use to make the images a little "prettier" to look at. As usual with this kind of thing, if folks would go and grab the raw data files from online (which are widely and freely available), they would see something quite different. The files shown in that movie are available here: stereo-ssc.nascom.nasa.gov...
What many people don't realize, or keep forgetting, is that the raw data files are pretty bland and boring. We have to perform processing upon them to enhance the solar features (outflow, streamers, CMEs, etc), and we apply color, data/time, and a couple of other tweaks. Those images in particular are heavily processed so attempt to subdue the visibility of the stars to enhance the visibility of CMEs. This is a completely automated process as we do not have the time, money or inclination to vet each file individually. Therefore we use a "one-size-fits-all" methodology for all our data processing which typically works pretty well but can show odd artifacts such as this when you get, for example, a bright CME and a very bright planet coincide.
Of course some people will still not buy this explanation. But then we could fly them into space and let them see if for their own eyes and they still wouldn't believe it. I'm a scientist and astronomer; I would love to see proof of life outside of Earth and indeed I suspect it exists somewhere in the universe. And if we did see a UFO in the data, I would be the first to be singing it from the rooftops (and I promise I'd send you an email)
Now if you want to follow something really interesting, there's a Sungrazing comet that has been discovered from Earth that is due to skim the Sun's surface on Dec 15/16 of this year. It will appear in our images around the 12th, and could be quite spectacular (or could fade completely...). I set up a page about it here and will try to post updates during next week: sungrazer.nrl.navy.mil.../birthday_comet (You can follow @SungrazerComets on twitter too, if you use that.) This comet is likely to create something of a stir if it pans out.
Originally posted by Phage
We've seen similar before.
It is the result of a process called background subtraction.
Does anyone else get really tired of "Hey youtube. ______ here."
Sometimes bright planets get mistakenly folded into the HI1 background calculations, creating dark "holes" in the data.
Originally posted by watchZEITGEISTnow
I reckon that was a shield.
..and why not - there's a lot on Mercury to protect from solar flares:
Originally posted by Phage
It's true that the flare is not a direct result of the subtraction process (see Pauligirl's post). I had thought that it may have been related.
Originally posted by FlyingSpaghettiMonster
The music on that video is really annoying. What am I supposed to be looking at? All I can see is photos of Mercury. Baaaaaaaaaaaa!