Pick of The Week
 
 

One Big Arch (April 18, 2003)

Separate and High-resolution Images:

  • Composite:

    Hi-res TIF (8.1M)

  • Before: JPEG (107K),

    Hi-res TIF (5.2M)

  • After: JPEG (108K),

    Hi-res TIF (5.3M)

  • A broad solar prominence, 30 times the size of the earth, erupted from the Sun on 2003 April 11. Prominences are concentrations of relatively cool, dense plasma suspended in the Sun's hot, tenuous corona by strong magnetic fields. Just six hours before the eruption (as seen in the inset image), SOHO observed a normal, "quiescent" prominence hovering not far above the solar surface. In the larger image, however, the prominence has erupted, while maintaining a magnetic connection to the surface at the "foot-points" of the arch. (Both images were obtained in extreme ultraviolet light emitted by doubly ionized helium.) Prominence eruptions are usually associated with coronal mass ejections in which billions of tons of ionized gas are propelled outward from the Sun at speeds upwards of a million of kilometers and hour. To give a sense of its enormous size, the eruptive prominence extends out more than 30 times the size of the Earth.

    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.

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