PICK OF THE WEEK
 
Pick of The Week
 
 

Somersaulting Prominence (September 19, 2008)


Hi-res TIF image (1.7M)

MPEG Movie: Large (6.7M)
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A writhing solar prominence reached up above the Sun, wiggled there for a while, then a part of it did a somersault before reforming itself in a spike-like shape. Scientists have observed prominences twist and shape themselves in many different ways, but a somersault spin is pretty rare. The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft caught the action in the 304 Angstroms wavelength of ultraviolet light over almost a two-day period (Sept. 10-11, 2008). The material observed is at about 60,000 degrees. Prominences are cooler clouds of gas suspended above the Sun by often competing magnetic forces.

 

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