XRT Picture of the Week (XPOW)

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2015 May 05

Click for movie. Also available on YouTube.

Prominence Eruption

A large prominence erupted on 2015 April 28 and XRT caught an amazing view of the eruption in both the Al-poly and Al-mesh filters (top movie). Prominences contain cool, dense material and therefore can't be seen in x-rays. They are just too cold to emit x-rays and because they are dense, they block them from the surrounding areas. It is also likely that prominences absorb x-rays from their neighborhood which may contribue to their energy. Scientists use XRT prominence observations to model their properties because it is not fully understood why cold plasma comfortably "chills" in a hot atmosphere for long periods of time.

When a prominence erupts, or breaks away from the sun, a lot of energy is released and x-rays are emitted. What is especially neat, is watching the sun's atmosphere react to the eruption. In the movie, long, bright streaks extend high out into the atmosphere. We see small, bright, horse-shoe like loops appear with long wispy tips while the prominence begins to lift off. Near the end, waves of hot plasma are seen falling back down and along a bright streak of loops. These downflows are commonly seen with XRT during a filament eruption. A running difference movie (bottom left) of the XRT data clearly show these downflows. We also include a movie of the prominence observed with AIA (bottom right) for context.

Keywords: Filament, Downflows, Limb
Filters: Al_mesh, Al_poly

(Prepared by Patricia Jibben and Masumi Shimojo)

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