Pick of The Week
 
 

Breakaway magnetic loops (January 2, 2003)

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Hi-resolution (TIF,3.1M)

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 304 wavelength (red) and the 195 wavelength (green), but the full event can be best seen in the video clip captured in the 195 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.

Previous Picks of the Week

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 steele.hill@gsfc.nasa.gov.

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