Status Report

Spectacular eruptive prominence captured by SOHO today

By SpaceRef Editor
July 1, 2002
Filed under , ,

Today the ESA/NASA SOHO satellite captured this image of a huge
spectacular eruptive prominence escaping the Sun. Prominences are loops of
magnetic fields with hot gas trapped inside. Sometimes, as the fields
become unstable, the they will erupt and rise off of the Sun in just a few
minutes or hours.
If eruptions like these are directed toward the Earth they can cause a
significant amount of aurora and other geomagnetic activity.

Image taken 2002 July 1 13:19 UT

High res:

This images is taken by the EIT instrument on SOHO in the resonance line
of singly ionized helium (He II) at 304 Angstroms in the extreme
ultraviolet. The material in the eruptive prominence is at temperatures of
60,000 – 80,000 K, much cooler than the surrounding corona, which is
typically at temperatures above 1 million K.

The eruption can soon be followed as it moves out in space by looking at
the SOHO LASCO images on our real-time image page where images are updated
every 15 minute or so.

Wondering how big these events are relative to the earth?

Other nice prominence shots and movies from SOHO

SpaceRef staff editor.