Sputtering like a fuse (July 22, 2004)
Hi-res TIF image (2.8M).
The newest active region that has rotated into our view, AR 10652, is one of the largest and most active we have seen since the remarkable outburst of solar activity last October. The new region's size is unusual this long after the maximum period of solar activity in the solar cycle. Viewed from the earth with a filtered telescope, the most obvious feature of the active region is the large, dark sunspot, with an area about twenty times Earth's. One can even see the spot with solar viewing glasses even without any magnification.
When viewed as a video clip in extreme ultraviolet light, the region's true dynamic nature comes through strong and clear. Over three and a half days, the region blew off several flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). More subtle but also very interesting is the continual activation, and frequent ejection, of magnetically confined plasma around the outside of the region (seen best in the close-up clip). Over the next week or so, this hot spot holds the potential for unleashing many more solar storms, some of which may be directed at the Earth.
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.
If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.