ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
* SPACE
 HEALTH
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 ARTS & STYLE
 NATURE
 IN-DEPTH
 ANALYSIS
 myCNN

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

  MULTIMEDIA:
 video
 video archive
 audio
 multimedia showcase
 more services

  E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Or:
Get a free e-mail account

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 AsiaNow
 En Español
 Em Português
 Svenska
 Norge
 Danmark
 Italian

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 TIME INC. SITES:
 CNN NETWORKS:
Networks image
 more networks
 transcripts

 SITE INFO:
 help
 contents
 search
 ad info
 jobs

 WEB SERVICES:

  sci-tech > space > story pagecorner  

Sun watching satellite catches flashy solar show

Flare
A figure "8" solar prominence  

January 26, 2000
Web posted at: 2:18 PM EST (1918 GMT)

(CNN) -- With seasonal solar activity on the rise, the sun is beginning to put on quite a show for scientists. The Solar & Heliospheric Observatory sun captured images of a "huge eruptive prominence" shooting out of the fireball this month. The prominence at one point was about 100 times wider than Earth.

Prominences are loops of magnetic fields with hot gas trapped inside. If the magnetic fields become unstable, they sometimes erupt and rise off the sun in just a few minutes or hours, according to the SOHO Web site. Often like this one they resemble a figure "8."

  MESSAGE BOARD
Star gazing

 

SOHO records powerful solar flares and coronal mass ejections from a permanent vantage point 1.5 million km ahead of the Earth in a halo orbit. Terrestrial observers can't see the solar fireworks with the naked eye, but the European Space Agency and NASA can thanks to the sun observatory, which was launched in 1995.

Prominences become more common as the solar maximum -- the time when sunspot activity peaks -- approaches. David Hathaway, a solar physicist at the Marshall Space Flight Center, predicts the solar activity will peak around the middle of the year 2000.

Want to see a hot animation of this recent eruption? Check out NASA's solar gallery.



RELATED STORIES:
Computer predicts impact of solar storms
Forget Y2K: Prepare for the solar maximum

RELATED SITES:
SOHO: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
Solar Flare Theory
BATSE Solar Flare Server
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.