Users highlights: spectacular prominences

Yesterday the Sun showed off a series of spectacular prominence eruptions that were recorded by many users.
Prominences are relatively cool, dense clouds of plasma that lie suspended in Sun’s magnetic field, sometimes for weeks. Occasionally, they become unstable and they erupt.

YouTube user 38starman posted these full disk movies of the Sun. The first is in AIA 304: this waveband sees plasma at around 50,000 K

and this is taken in PROBA2 173

It is possible that one event may have triggered another. Understanding the connection between separate events is a big part of Solar Dynamics Observatory science.

YouTube user коля павл posted a close-up of the prominence towards the south, this time in AIA 131

AIA 131 picks up temperatures at around 400,000 K, 10,000,000 K and 16,000,000 K. By looking at the AIA 304 images, it seems more likely that the prominence has plasma at around 50,000 and 400,000 K. The hotter temperatures that AIA 131 can see occur in flares, which are much more dynamic events than prominences. This is a good example demonstrating that the images we see can contain features at different temperatures.
Multiple wavebands really help us understand the true temperature of features on the Sun.

Thanks to 38starman and коля павл for sharing these movies!

Written on June 18, 2013 by jack