Getting Loopy (August 27, 2004)
Hi-res TIF image (4.1M).
During the day of 24 August 2004, the Suns rotation brought two active regions on the opposite sides of the Sun into profile. As the day progressed, the numerous magnetic loop structures above the active regions attain much stronger definition since they are beginning to be observed against a darker background. The rotation seems to bring them into focus almost as if someone were turning the knob of a focuser. Although minor changes are taking place all the time, the main semi-circular structures remain fairly stable. The gas in the Sun's outer atmosphere is so hot that collisions among the atoms strip off most of the electrons -- creating a gas of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons, known as a plasma. Electromagnetic forces make it difficult for charged particles to cross magnetic field lines; instead, the plasma is trapped in tubes of magnetic flux, and the bright regions show us where there's both lots of plasma and a strong magnetic field.When it comes to features on the Sun, magnetism rules!
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.