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One Half Million Mile Solar Filament
This image (above) from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows a very long, whip-like solar filament extending over half a million miles in a long arc above the sun’s surface.
Filaments are cooler clouds of solar material that are tethered above the sun’s surface by unstable magnetic forces.
The image and video (below), which covers August 6 to 8, 2012 show the filament as a darker strand that has been in view for several days. Towards the end of the video part of the filament seems to break away, but its basic length and shape seem to have remained mostly intact.
What is a solar flare? What is a coronal mass ejection?
For answers to these and other space weather questions, please visit the
Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions
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Steele Hill and Karen C. Fox
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD