Stretching Out (April 21, 2005)
Hi-res TIF image (2.5M)
Once again a very long filament dominates images of the Sun this week. The extended filament appears to span almost the entire
width of the Sun, nearly one million miles. That is about four times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Filaments are
twisting masses of cooler ("only" 10,000 - 100,000 degrees Kelvin) gas contained by magnetic fields above the Sun's surface in
the midst of the much hotter (~ 1,500,000 K) corona. And just to keep the terms straight, filaments are called prominences if
observed on the Sun's limb or edge. Sometimes these filaments collapse and erupt, though they can remain stable for weeks at a
time. The video clip (April 15-18, 2005) shows little change in the filament as it rotates around with the Sun.
It is possible that this is the same filament featured on Feb. 25, 2005 since filaments can last for several months and both seem to be in a similar orientation and position. While filaments are fairly common, this one is even longer and more striking than most we have seen. We should note as well that two other filaments appear in the image, one above and one below the featured one.
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