This mesmerizing animation by photographer Alan Friedman shows a solar prominence as it changes structure over the course of 78 minutes.
Solar prominences are eruptions of hot gases extending from the sun’s surface, held together by magnetic forces which constantly shift and move. They can last for days or months, and extend thousands and even hundreds of thousands of miles into space, sometimes looping back down onto the sun or breaking off entirely in what’s known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). The shimmying structure shown above is probably several thousand miles high….easily as large or larger than the Earth!
This image is from October 2006. See more of Alan’s amazing sun photography on his website here.
Image © Alan Friedman. All rights reserved. Used with permission.