A Twisting Solar Prominence (SOHO Pick of the Week)

SOHO Pick of the Week - 15 October 2010

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft caught this tumultuous solar prominence as it twisted and turned over about 18 hours, as seen in profile above the Sun?s surface, before disappearing (Oct. 8, 2010). The cloud of cooler gases, suspended by magnetic forces, is seen here in extreme ultraviolet wavelength at about 60,000 degrees C. Other plasma also in profile can be seen flowing directionally along magnetic field lines back into and breaking away from the Sun. Prominences occur fairly often, but the twisting gyrations of this one caught our attention. The small, whiter area on the Sun not far above it is an active region, which can produce solar flares. (credit: SOHO Pick of the Week for 15 October 2010, Steele Hill)