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A Prominent Solar Prominence from SOHO March 17, 2009

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Credit:

SOHOEIT Consortium, ESA, NASA

Explanation:

What’s happened to our Sun? It was sporting a spectacular — but not very unusual — solar prominence. A solar prominence is a cloud of solar gas held above the Sun’s surface by the Sun’s magnetic field. In 2004, NASA’s Sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft imaged an impressively large prominence hovering over the surface, pictured above. The Earth would easily fit under the hovering curtain of hot gas. A quiescent prominence typically lasts about a month, and may erupt in a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) expelling hot gas into the Solar System. Although somehow related to the Sun’s changing magnetic field, the energy mechanism that creates and sustains a Solar prominence is still a topic of research.

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