A Sinuous Strand

A huge filament winds around the Sun's southern hemisphere

Featured on the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Pick of the Week, this image from the observatory’s AIA 304 camera shows a gigantic filament snaking around the Sun’s southern hemisphere, hundreds of thousands of miles of magnetically-contained plasma made visible in extreme ultraviolet light.

Filaments are bands of relatively cooler, denser solar material caught up in magnetic lines that have erupted from within the Sun. They are called filaments when they are seen against the brighter surface of the Sun, prominences when they are seen arching up from the Sun’s limb.

With a circumference of over 2.71 million miles at its equator, once can only imagine what the length of this structure must be! Incredible.

Click here to watch this filament in action, or read the full Pick of the Week on the SDO main site here.

Image courtesy of SDO (NASA) and the AIA consortium.


  1. Teresa Uno says:

    I can’t wait to share this with my third graders! SO exciting!


    1. J. Major says:

      Cool, I hope they enjoy the info! I love the SDO site because it shows updated images every ten minutes or so….it’s basically real-time!

      Check out more sun images in my Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightsinthedark/sets/72157624256478207/


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