Sunday, March 28, 2010

Antics of Aten

No less than three prominences erupted over a nine-hour period (Mar. 13-14, 2010) as the STEREO (Behind) spacecraft captured the action in an extreme UV wavelength of light. Prominences, which are cooler clouds of gas tethered to the Sun by magnetic forces, often become unstable and break away out into space. But, it is rare to see three of them erupt in such a short span of time. Prominences are most easily spotted in this wavelength of light (304 Angstroms). STEREO takes an image every 10 minutes with each of its two spacecraft, so we do have good coverage of prominence activity. Looking ahead to next month, though, the Solar Dynamics Observatory will be taking an image every 10 seconds in this wavelength, providing us with exquisite details and very smooth motion.
Check out some action here

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