These two large prominences (lower right and lower left) erupted from the Sun in March 2003. This ultraviolet image was captured by the SOHO spacecraft.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy SOHO (NASA & ESA).
Large impressive loop-like structures on the edge of the solar disk sometimes
stand out brightly against the dark background of space. Though these structures,
called "prominences", appear to be very bright and hot, they are actually hundreds
of times cooler and denser than the surrounding gases in the Sun's corona or
Filaments are dark string-like features that snake across regions of the solar
disk. They are actually prominences that are silhouetted against the much brighter
Filaments and prominences can remain stable for weeks or even months. Then,
without warning, these structures can erupt and blow large amounts of gas and
plasma out into space. Erupting prominences are closely associated with an
space weather event called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).
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