Fireworks on the Sun

by Nancy Atkinson on March 26, 2011

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The Sun continues to be active! This movie from the Solar Dynamics Observatory starts at 11:35 UT on March 24, 2011 and goes through midnight. It shows the active area 1176 – and active it was. Several flares are visible — according to the SDO website, there are B, C and M class flares all seen in this 20 second video. See below for another movie from March 19 of a looping solar prominence eruption on the limb of the Sun.

Prominences are large, bright features extending outward from the Sun’s surface, usually from 2 sunspots. Prominences often form in a loop shape, as can be seen in this video. What you are seeing is plasma trapped in the magnetic fields. Prominences are easier to see when they are on the limb of the Sun, like this one. Filaments are simply prominences seen from directly above.

Credit: NASA/SDO/GSFC

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Aqua March 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Asinging… “With a little bit of Sol (sp) you’ll feel all right!…”

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