North America's, National Aeronautics And Space Administration (NASA) today released rare footage of Solar Prominences - large glowing clouds of gas erupting from the Sun's surface.
The spectacular images of the eruptions that occured over a 30-hour period on September 26th and 27th, were captured by the twin STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) spacecraft, imaginatively dubbed Ahead and Behind, based on their positions in Space. The spacecraft were launched in 2006 to provide NASA with a three dimensional view of the Sun.
Solar Prominences are huge arcs of gas that erupt from the surface of the Sun. They occur because of the solar activity cycle. As is well-known, the sun is a huge magnetic ball of gas, held in place by a magnetic field. As the sun rotates, the heat in its interior, churns the cooler, subsurface gas layer creating giant gas bubbles.
Ever so often, the bubbles breach the surface of the sun and break out. When they reach 30,000 miles above the surface of the Sun - like this one did, they release huge amounts of material, at speeds of up to 2,160,000 mph, before dissipating - and appear as though the Sun is erupting!
sources: englishcctv.com, Solar Prominence ,telegraph.com.uk