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Photo of the Day: Solar Prominence on the Sun

posted: 05/07/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Filament Burst
Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA

This stunning solar prominence extended from the Sun over a period of six hours on April 21. At times, the prominence was several times larger than Earth, making it visible even to amateur astronomers. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory reports that much of the prominence fell back into the Sun, and only a small amount of material broke into space.

A solar prominence is a gaseous loop that jets outwards from the Sun's photosphere, through its corona. When a large prominence breaks free from the Sun and hurtles into space, it is known as a coronal mass ejection. If strong enough, the rogue prominence can reach Earth and cause a geomagnetic storm, disrupting radio transmissions and damaging electrical infrastructure.

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