Video: An enormous "plasma snake" erupts from the Sun

Video: An enormous “plasma snake” erupts from the sun
SOHO LASCO C2 (top) and SDO AIA 304 (bottom) image of a solar filament detaching on April 28-29, 2015

Over the course of April 28–29 a gigantic filament, briefly suspended above the surface of the sun, broke off and created an enormous snakelike eruption of plasma that extended millions of miles out into space. The event was both powerful and beautiful, another demonstration of the incredible energy and activity of our home star… and it was all captured on camera by two of our finest sun-watching spacecraft.

Made from data acquired by both NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the joint ESA/NASA SOHO spacecraft, the video was compiled by astronomer and sungrazing comet specialist Karl Battams. It shows views of the huge filament before and after detaching from the sun, and gives a sense of the enormous scale of the event.

At one point the plasma eruption spanned a distance over 33 times farther than the moon is from Earth!

Filaments are long channels of solar material contained by magnetic fields that have risen up from within the sun. They are relatively cooler than the visible face of the sun behind them so they appear dark when silhouetted against it; when seen rising from the sun's limb they look bright and are called prominences.

When the break apart, much of the material contained within the filaments gets flung out into space (a.k.a. a CME) while some gets pulled back down into the sun. These events are fairly common but that doesn't make them any less spectacular!

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Image: Giant filament seen on the sun

Source: Universe Today
Citation: Video: An enormous "plasma snake" erupts from the Sun (2015, May 1) retrieved 16 July 2019 from
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May 01, 2015
Filaments are long channels of solar material contained by magnetic fields

No, filaments are the electric currents that are causing the magnetic fields to further modify the filaments.

When the magnetic field lines break apart

Wow, the pseudoscience is pervasive in astrophysics. "Magnetic field lines" don't exist, they are merely mathematical constructs to help understand magnetic fields. They cannot break, bend, twist, or accomplish any other physical mechanism any more than a unicorn can fly.

May 03, 2015
Beautiful! Can't wait to see if the sun's frisky adventures result in good radio DX here on earth!

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