One Big Arch (April 18, 2003)
A broad solar prominence, 30 times the size of the earth, erupted
from the Sun on 2003 April 11. Prominences are concentrations of
relatively cool, dense plasma suspended in the Sun's hot, tenuous
corona by strong magnetic fields. Just six hours before the eruption
(as seen in the inset image), SOHO observed a normal, "quiescent"
prominence hovering not far above the solar surface. In the larger
image, however, the prominence has erupted, while maintaining a
magnetic connection to the surface at the "foot-points" of the arch.
(Both images were obtained in extreme ultraviolet light emitted by
doubly ionized helium.) Prominence eruptions are usually associated
with coronal mass ejections in which billions of tons of ionized gas
are propelled outward from the Sun at speeds upwards of a million of
kilometers and hour. To give a sense of its enormous size, the
eruptive prominence extends out more than 30 times the size of the
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.