Filament, Then Prom, Then Gone

Filament on upper left image emerges as prominence upper right and lower images.

Powerful magnetic fields sometimes levitate billions of tons of material above the surface of the Sun which is known as a filament. When solar rotation moves it to the limb of the Sun, it is called a prominence, or prom for short, and reveals how high it is. The whole prominence/filament is over 100,000 miles long, and perhaps 8,000 to 10,000 miles high. The composite shows it over the solar disk, then hovering over the limb, and then all but gone behind the sun as it rotates out of view.

These huge filaments eventually disappear as the magnetic fields weaken and “rain” back down onto the Sun, but occasionally they will snap like a rubber band and fling off into space. If they head earthward they can cause magnetic storms that affect power, radio, satellites, and astronauts.

Note: These images were taken with a telescope specially designed for safe use with the Sun. Never use an ordinary telescope or binoculars to look at the Sun; permanent, irreversible eye damage will occur immediately.

Published by eskildoodle1

Retired physician with interests in writing, photography, music, and astronomy. I have written multiple stories of life experiences, travel, and astronomy, and have been playing the ukulele for 10 years. My wife Fairy and I travel frequently to the Pacific Islands of Hawaii, and French Polynesia, and I have learned several of their native-language songs. This blog will be a forum to share experiences with family and friends.

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