Molten Curl (July 1, 2002)
A huge, curling solar prominence in extreme ultraviolet light (ionized helium at 304Å) was seen erupting from the Sun on 1 July 2002. Prominences are huge clouds of relatively cool, dense plasma suspended in the Sun's hot, tenuous corona. Magnetic fields built up enormous forces that propelled particles out beyond the Sun's surface. Emission in this spectral line shows the upper chromosphere at a temperature of about 60,000 degrees K. For a sense of scale, the prominence seems to extend at least 30 Earths. There is a second prominence in the upper right as well.
The second image shows how this event evolved as a coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud just minutes later as it moved in an hour and a half through the field of view of LASCO C2. A CME blasts billions of tons of matter at millions of miles (kilometers) per hour into space. This one dos not appear to be Earth-directed.
SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.
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