Science and Exploration

NASA’s SDO Show’s Dancing Plasma on the Sun

By Marc Boucher
June 26, 2012
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NASA’s SDO Show’s Dancing Plasma on the Sun
Stellar dance on the sun.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured approximately 18 hours of video for this dancing plasma from June 24 through June 25. Suspended in twisted magnetic fields, the hot plasma structure is many times the size of planet Earth.

Prominences are huge clouds of relatively cool dense plasma suspended in the Sun’s hot, thin corona. At times, they can erupt, escaping the Sun’s atmosphere. Emission in this spectral line shows the upper chromosphere at a temperature of about 50,000 degrees Kelvin (or 90,000 degrees Farenheit). Magnetic fields built up enormous forces that propelled particles out beyond the Sun’s surface.

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