Pick of The Week
 
 

Remnants of Eruptive Prominence (March 11, 2005)


Hi-res TIF (3.8M)


Hi-res TIF (4.5M)

The Sun ejected an "eruptive prominence," a mass of relatively cool plasma, into space on March 6, 2005. You can see its remnants as a faint cloud in the lower left corner of the extreme ultraviolet image of the Sun. The gas was relatively cool - only 60,000-80,000 Kelvin (110,000 - 145,000 degrees F) compared with the fiery 1.5 million degree K plasma (2.7 million F) surrounding it in the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona. Since the previous image (taken six hours before this one) does not show a clear prominence in the area, it is suspected that the prominence erupted from the far side of the Sun.

Eruptive prominences like this one are often associated with coronal mass ejections (CME's), and the CME-prominence combination can deliver a powerful one-two punch to the earth's magnetosphere when directed toward Earth. In this case, the prominence and any coronal mass ejection were directed away from the Earth and out into space.

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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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