Curling, Twirling Prominence (January 15, 2010)
Hi-res TIF image (1.9M)
STEREO (Behind) spacecraft caught this very unstable solar prominence as it gyrated for three days, as seen in profile above the Sun's surface, before finally disappearing (Jan. 6-8, 2010). The cloud of cooler gases, suspended by magnetic forces in the million-degree-plus solar corona, seems to swirl and twist in rolling motions, though at times the material can be seen flowing directionally along magnetic field lines back into the Sun. Prominences occur fairly often, but this one showed more dynamic motion that most exhibit. Also of note is a large and bright active region that has generated numerous minor flares.
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