CLICK ABOVE FOR VIDEO: Beginning on January 6th, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught an incredible solar prominence: a large, bright gaseous feature of cooler plasma anchored to the solar surface.
In order to see such a prominence, which is often in a loop shape, the Sun was viewed in light at 304 Angstroms to see the light emitted from the chromosphere, the middle layer of the Sun's atmosphere. This wavelength captures light that is emitted from the chromosphere and transition region of the Sun's atmosphere by He II at about 50,000 Kelvin.
Just as a rough estimate, this prominence, which started on the southeast limb of the Sun, probably extended about 100,000 kilometers or so (nearly eight Earth diameters!) into the Sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona, before collapsing on about 8:00 pm EST on January 7th.
The current Earth's facing solar disk appears to be quiet as we headed into solar minimum: there is no major risk for solar flares or increased levels of solar energetic particles at this time.
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© 2017 Meteorologist Chris Stubenrauch