Features on the Photosphere

Features on the Photosphere - Features on the Photosphere...

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Unformatted text preview: Features on the Photosphere At solar maximum there are more prominences and solar flares. Prominences are bright clouds of gas forming above the sunspots in the chromosphere that follow the magnetic field line loops. So-called ``quiet'' ones form in the corona (the Sun's atmosphere) about 40,000 kilometers above the surface. Sometimes they form loops of hydrogen gas as the gas follows the loops in the magnetic field. Quiet prominences last several days to several weeks. ``Surge'' prominences lasting up to a few hours shoot gas up to 300,000 kilometers above the photosphere. The smallest of the loop prominences shown here is over three times bigger than the Earth (courtesy of National Solar Observatory/Sacramento Peak Observatory ). Solar flares are eruptions more powerful than surge prominences (a flare is shown in the Sun + planets montage above). They will last only a few minutes to a few hours. They probably form when the magnetic field lines get so twisted, that they snap violently, releasing the trapped...
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