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5/13/2008

Erupting Solar Prominence

SOLAR ERUPTIONS
Astronomers are monitoring an unusually active prominence on the sun's eastern limb. Even veteran observers are impressed, using words like "amazing" and "jaw-dropping" to describe the activity they have seen. One onlooker described the fountain-like eruptions as "volcanic in appearance."

Amateur astronomers in Europe and North America witnessed fountains of hot, magnetized gas surging over the eastern edge of the sun. "My hard drive is full of movies," says Didier Favre of Brétigny sur Orge, France, who counted no fewer than seven eruptions.

Veteran observer Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, took the picture above. "This is the first time I've ever seen material moving visually away from the surface of the Sun," he says.


UPDATE: Observers are reporting a sunspot (or proto-sunspot) emerging from the direction of yesterday's prominence: #1, #2, #3.
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