Active prominences

Some interesting and dynamic prominences appeared at the solar limb from 8 till 10 May. Prominences are relatively cool and dense structures reaching all the way up into the corona, i.e. the Sun's hot outer atmosphere. They are clouds of ionized gas above the solar surface squeezed between magnetic regions of opposite polarity. In dedicated filters such as Hydrogen-alpha (H-alpha, 656.3 nm) or in EUV (extreme ultraviolet) such as observed by SDO/AIA 304 at a temperature of about 80,000 degrees, they appear as bright structures hovering over the solar limb. The imagery underneath (AIA 304) shows the most significant prominences, in particular along the northeast (top left) and southeast (bottom left) limb from 8 till 10 May. The dark patches near the Sun's poles are polar coronal holes.

Underneath a zoom of the two largest prominences (movies created with JHV). The prominences cover latitudes from around 20 to 50 degrees, partially overlapping with and slightly poleward of the main sunspot belts (in general zero to about 35 degrees). The appearance of more and more dynamic prominences may be another indication we are leaving solar cycle minimum behind us.

 

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