Sun Pieces Flying Off (July 21, 2006)
Hi-res TIF image
Over the past few weeks this extreme ultraviolet observing instrument on SOHO has witnessed at least four events where pieces of the Sun have blasted off into space. In most instances these are evidence of coronal mass ejections, solar eruptions that occur fairly frequently. Magnetic tensions above active regions strain and break apart, propelling solar particles into space at millions of miles per hour. The first event on June 26th appears to have been triggered by the collapse of a solar prominence suspended by magnetic forces above the Sun. The strands extending from the Sun in the images from July 9th and 10th are almost certainly from the same active region. While these clouds of particles are large, they hardly diminish the bulk of the Sun at all. Don't worry: there's plenty left for billions of years to come.
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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