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.

September 18, 1997

Erupting Sun
Credit: SOHO- EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA

Explanation: On August 27th twisting magnetic fields propelled this huge eruptive prominence a hundred thousand miles above the Sun's surface. The seething plasma of ionized gases is at a temperature of about 150,000 degrees Farenheit and spans over 200,000 miles (about 27 Earths). The Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) onboard the space-based SOHO observatory recorded this exquisitely detailed image in the light of ionized Helium atoms from its vantage point in a Halo orbit. This is the largest solar prominence observed by SOHO instruments since they began exploring solar phenomena in early 1996.

Tomorrow's picture: Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.