> SPACECRAFT FINDS SOLAR TORNADOES AS WIDE AS EARTH
April 28, 1998 ~Web posted at: 1:22 p.m. EDT (1722 GMT)
PARIS (Reuters) -- Vast solar tornadoes, nearly as wide as the Earth and
gusting at up to 300,000 mph, have been discovered by the European Space
Agency's SOHO spacecraft, the agency said in a new report. SOHO, which
carries 12 sets of solar observation instruments provided by European and
U.S. researchers, was launched into space on December 2, 1995, aboard a U.S.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration rocket. It began its
scientific operations in April 1996, and ESA and NASA recently decided to
extend its mission to 2003 The extension will enable SOHO to observe dark
sunspots on the sun's surface, which are expected to peak around the year
2000. Solar storms during the last sunspot peak in 1989-91 caused power
failures in Canada and Sweden, made some computers crash and destroyed or
damaged several satellites, ESA said.
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