25 June 2024 - Mission Day: 10434 - DOY: 177
Pick of The Week

A Tangle of Filaments (February 26, 2004)

Hi-res TIF image (3.1M)

MPEG: Large (2.1M), Small (682K)
Quicktime: Large (801K), Small (185K)

A careful look at the Sun in ultraviolet light shows a series of three filaments slanting up roughly at a 45 degree angle in the lower right quadrant of the Sun (23 Feb. 2004). Both the image's contrast and the filaments have been darkened to make the filaments easier to pick out. Filaments are twisting masses of cooler ("only" 10,000 - 100,000 degrees Kelvin) gas contained by magnetic fields above the Sun's surface in the midst of the much hotter (~ 1,500,000 K) corona). (Filaments are called prominences if observed on the Sun's limb or edge.) The long, curling, central filament, if straightened out, would appear to be able to span the diameter of the Sun, over 1,000,000 miles. Sometimes these filaments collapse and erupt, although these three have remained stable for the past several days.

The video clip first shows the Sun in white light taken by the MDI instrument. This instrument observes the Sun's surface and does not "see" the filaments at all. However, this image is then replaced by an EIT 195 instrument image in which the subtly darker filaments can be discerned. Finally, an EIT 304 image is revealed underneath in which the filaments are even easier to see.

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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.

If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to steele.hill@gsfc.nasa.gov.


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