Hanging by Threads (January 5, 2005)
Hi-res TIF (2.5M)
A series of three significant coronal mass ejections (CMEs) occurred
within 36 hours on Dec. 30 - 31, 2004 all of which seemed to have
Active Region 715 as their source. (CMEs are large solar storms, not
uncommon, that blast billions of tons of particles into space at
millions of kilometers per hours.) But the real story this week lies is
the second of the three CMEs. The structure of the CME is strongly
defined by multiple white strands of plasma that seem to elongate and
linger in the frame longer than anyone can remember seeing. The pieces
appear almost like shreds of torn clothing after something ripped
through it. From the beginning of the event until the last strand
disappears over nine hours elapse. The result is a video of a CME that
ranks among the most interesting that SOHO has observed. The second
video clip shows just this second CME and the frame rate is slowed down
in it so that viewers can see the remarkable action unfold in greater
It should be noted that the duration is scientifically interesting as well, because the strands appear to be part of an eruptive prominence, or material at well below coronal (~ 1 MK) temperatures that are only able to stay at the lower (5,000 - 10,000K in this image) temperatures because of magnetic fields "bottling" them up.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.