Breakaway magnetic loops (January 2, 2003)
A classic of clarity and an icon of this type of event, a loop of
electrically charged gas, or plasma (which is confined by the
magnetic field) can be seen rising above the Sun's surface. The
magnetic field twists and jerks this structure before it breaks away.
With the controlling power of the field lines temporarily broken, a
massive explosion of plasma erupts into space. The careful observer
of the video clip will see other fainter structures similarly
disrupted. The 28 December 2002 event was observed as a still loop in
extreme ultraviolet light at the 304Å wavelength (red) and the 195Å
wavelength (green), but the full event can be best seen in the video
clip captured in the 195Å wavelength where an image was taken every
12 minutes over 12 hours. You can see how one "leg" of the loop
breaks away first, then the whole loop area opens up as the loop
breaks away. The final image, taken by LASCO C3, gives us the bigger
picture -- a huge expanding cloud of particles, many times the size
of the Sun and moving at about a million miles per hour, just hours
after the loop breaks away.|
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.
If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to email@example.com.