October 16, 2012

Unfurling Solar Prominence

A large prominence swirled and twisted above the Sun’s surface before breaking away and launching itself into space (October 6-7, 2012). This image and movie are a combination of the Sun itself, observed in extreme UV light (from the STEREO Ahead spacecraft) and STEREO’s view of the corona in white light taken by its COR1 instrument. Prominences are clouds of cooler plasma that hover above the Sun, tethered by unstable magnetic forces, which often break away or fade within days or weeks. The movie covers one day of activity.


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