Prominence Eruption and "Tidal" Wave (May 27, 2004)
Hi-res TIF image (2.4M).
Over a 20-hour period on May 24-25, 2004, SOHO observed a prominence that erupted from the Sun, followed by a disturbance on its surface that appears to sweep upwards and to the left as if it were a tidal wave. The eruption is not easy to see but a lift off of material can be discerned to the careful observer. The eruption can be seen in other SOHO coronagraph instruments. The subsequent northward "wave" on the surface is easier to see. Considering that the Earth is less than 1/100th the diameter of the Sun, you can begin to appreciate how large a disturbance this is. All this change and activity is instigated by instabilities in the magnetic field that may originate in volumes as small as a breadbox, but that spread at speeds of hundreds of kilometers a second -- much faster than a wildfire -- to much larger structures.
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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