Extensions into the Upper Solar Atmosphere (January 29, 2010)
Hi-res TIF image (3.6M)
With two active regions (brighter areas) in profile almost diametrically apart, SOHO got a good view of the extensive areas above the Sun influenced by the powerful magnetic fields associated with the two regions. This wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light "sees" ionized iron heated to 2 million degrees in the upper solar atmosphere. The hotter the temperature, the higher you look in the solar atmosphere. Although the image is rather diffuse, we can more clearly see in other wavelengths that material is tracing arcs of magnetic field lines looping above the active regions. Just a few months ago, the large-scale solar magnetic field was like that from a bar magnet, and flattened along the Sun's equator. Now, it's not much more complicated in shape, but it's tilted, as seen by the position of these two regions --- a clear giveaway that the rise to solar maximum has begun.
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.