Charged Filament (January 13, 2005)
Hi-res TIF (2.6M)
A very long solar filament (that appears as a dark, thin line shaped
like an Omega or horseshoe in the upper left quadrant) suddenly erupted
on January 5, 2005. The series of stills, taken by the EIT 195
instrument about an hour and a half apart shows this filament before
and after its eruption. (Filaments are cooler, dynamic structures that
coalesce and float” in the otherwise hot corona above the Sun's
surface, sometimes for several weeks.) This particular prominence was
over 70 times the diameter of Earth. If stretched out straight, it
would reach more than half way across the Sun and more than the
distance from the Earth to the Moon and back.
What is most interesting here is that the filament, as is sometimes the case, does not break away or disappear. Instead, it expanded rapidly as though jolted with electricity, then maintained that shape, more or less, ever since up though January 11. The forces as work here, it should be noted, are primarily magnetic--not electric. Scientists admit that filaments are not well understood and there is much to be learned about them.
SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.
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