Sparkler Speculation (August 31, 2007)
Hi-res TIF image (666K)
A close-up of an active region of the Sun from STEREO's Ahead spacecraft in extreme ultraviolet revealed an interesting, yet subtle, phenomenon. Besides a pair of small eruptions over this 40-hour period (Aug. 23-24, 2007), one small point was the source of a steady outpouring of material in all directions around it during the whole time, almost like a sparkler. It may not be an actual outflow into the solar wind - these are likely just the footprints of longer loops that continue upwards at other temperatures. The flow may be due to an imbalance in the heating of the loops. Understanding how and where such loops are heated is a 'hot' topic in solar research.
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