The Sun, our closest star, is also a complex and active part of the solar system. On Sunday July 8, 2018 we witnessed sizable activity in the form of a large solar prominence extending from the surface captured in the picture.
In our region of space, the Sun is responsible for filling it with highly energetic particles that interact with everything from planet’s magnetic fields, to your skin, to the beautiful Aurora at the poles, etc. A solar prominence is one mechanism the Sun has to release these high energy particles. The others are Solar Flares, CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) and more.
A solar prominence can range in size. They can grow very small to greater than the diameter of Jupiter. In addition they can disconnect from their origin point and land on the Sun’s surface hundreds of miles away.
Heliophysics is the study of the Sun. See NASA on their website. This study is complimented by space weather professionals. Moreover they study the Sun to protect our technology. Our technology is sensitive to the Sun’s influence. In 1989, the Quebec black out was caused by a CME. The high energy particles from the Sun, induced currents in the power lines which overloaded transformers and well destroyed them. Knowing when they occur, give us a few hours to prepare. Governments and companies can shut down their satellites and prepare powergrids for the surge in energy. This saves billions.
The Sun’s Beauty
In light of this power, the Sun is so dynamic that it can be viewed for hours, days, and weeks of enjoyment. Equally important, always view the Sun safely by using a telescope specific for viewing. Enjoy and clear skies!