Feb 18, 2022

Giant solar eruption seen

Posted by in category: space

It lashed out for millions of miles beyond the sun’s surface.

NASA and the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Solar Orbiter spacecraft captured the largest solar prominence eruption observed to date.

The stunning image shows the solar eruption extending millions of miles into space, as per a report by ESA.

According to the ESA, the eruption was so powerful that even the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission spacecraft, currently orbiting Mercury detected a “massive increase in the readings for electrons, protons, and heavy ions with its radiation monitor.”

## What are solar prominences?

Solar prominences are composed of magnetic field lines that suspend ejected solar plasma far beyond the Sun’s surface. They often occur alongside coronal mass ejections, large expulsions of magnetic field and plasma, sometimes referred to as solar tsunamis\.

The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft has captured the largest solar prominence eruption ever observed in a single image together with the full solar disc.

Solar prominences are large structures of tangled magnetic field lines that keep dense concentrations of solar plasma suspended above the Sun’s surface, sometimes taking the form of arching loops. They are often associated with coronal mass ejections, which if directed towards Earth, can wreak havoc with our technology and everyday lives.

This latest event took place on 15 February and extended millions of kilometres into space. The coronal mass ejection was not directed at Earth. In fact, it is travelling away from us. There is no signature of the eruption on the solar disc facing the spacecraft – which is currently approaching the Earth-Sun line – meaning that it must have originated from the side of the Sun facing away from us.

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