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solar dynamics observatory

solar dynamics observatory

NASA SDO - "Alien" Prominence, June 18, 2012

4y ago


This movie covers almost 15 hours from the early hours of June 18, 2012. These UV views from the AIA instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in the 304 angstrom wavelengths show a beautiful prominence eruption. We called it the "Alien Prometheus Prominence". Why? Watch the movie and find out. This 304 angstrom channel (red Sun) provides us a very good way of seeing areas where cooler dense plumes of plasma, filaments and prominences, are located above the visible surface of the Sun. There is a also a close-up view in 171 angstrom of this prominence showing the arcs extending off of the Sun where plasma moves along magnetic field lines. A solar prominence (also known as a filament when viewed against the solar disk) is a large, bright feature extending outward from the Sun's surface. Prominences are anchored to the Sun's surface in the photosphere, and extend outwards into the Sun's hot outer atmosphere, called the corona. A prominence forms over timescales of about a day, and stable prominences may persist in the corona for several months, looping hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Scientists are still researching how and why prominences are formed. The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas comprised of electrically charged hydrogen and helium. The prominence plasma flows along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun's internal dynamo. An erupting prominence occurs when such a structure becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma. Credit: NASA SDO Scoring: Alien - by Jerry Goldsmith PS: We are not endorsing any aliens on the Sun!