Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2024 June 15
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Prominences and Filaments on the Active Sun
Image Credit & Copyright: Steen S√łndergaard

Explanation: This colorized and digitally sharpened image of the Sun is composed of frames recording emission from hydrogen atoms in the solar chromosphere on May 15. Approaching the maximum of solar cycle 25, a multitude of planet-dwarfing active regions and twisting, snake-like solar filaments are seen to sprawl across the surface of the active Sun. Suspended in the active regions' strong magnetic fields, the filaments of plasma lofted beyond the Sun's edge appear as bright solar prominences. The large prominences seen near 4 o'clock, and just before 9 o'clock around the solar limb are post flare loops from two powerful X-class solar flares that both occurred on that day. In fact, the 4 o'clock prominence is associated with the monster active region AR 3664 just rotating off the Sun's edge.

Tomorrow's picture: How to destroy a star.


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