A prominence is a large, bright, gaseous feature extending outward from the sun’s surface. It is usually anchored to the sun’s surface in the photosphere and extends outward into the sun’s hot outer atmosphere, called the corona.
They are the result of the rise of cool, dense material from within the sun’s atmosphere, usually in the form of loops that can be seen in the sun’s X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation. Generally, a prominence is caused by a loop of gas, called a magnetic flux rope, that is filled with super-hot plasma which was upwelled from beneath the photosphere.
It is believed that the cause of this upwelling plasma is due to magnetic reconnection taking place at the photosphere of the sun. This reconnection rapidly accelerates particles, causing them to rise along the magnetic field lines and form the loops of the prominence.
These loops reach far into the corona and when they interact with their environment, they release the plasma and brighter light can be seen in the form of what we call a prominence.
Where do prominences occur?
Prominences, also known as filaments, are structures in the Sun’s corona that are made up of relatively cool, dense plasma. The plasma is suspended above the photosphere and can last for several months.
Prominences are visible when a part of the corona is seen against the disk of the Sun, either during a total or partial solar eclipse. Prominences often occur along the sun’s edges, or limb, and they can reach out into the solar corona several hundred thousand kilometers above the photosphere of the sun.
The prominences are often seen as arcs of gas along the edge of the Sun, appearing like dark ribbons or dark clouds against the background of the Sun. It is also possible to observe Prominences in Hydrogen-alpha light using special filters on a telescope.
These prominences are usually caused by powerful magnetic fields in the Sun’s atmosphere, and can be seen to form very large arcs and loops, rising above and beyond the surface of the Sun. Prominences can appear in different shapes, sizes, temperatures, and intensities depending on the activity of the Sun and the levels of magnetism in the region.
What are the two types of prominences?
Prominences are large, bright features seen in the Sun’s corona. They are formed due to the complex magnetic fields that lie within the Sun’s atmosphere and are made up of matter that is much hotter than the surface of the Sun.
There are two types of prominences.
The first type is the filament prominence, which is an arc or loop made of relatively cool plasma suspended in the corona above the photosphere. They are caused by the interaction of loop-shaped magnetic structures with the plasma in the Sun’s atmosphere.
Filament prominences typically appear in the form of a long, thin structure parallel to the Sun’s surface and can extend up to hundreds of thousands of kilometres into the Sun’s atmosphere.
The second type is the quiescent prominence. They are large, arc-shaped clouds of plasma that are shaped by the Sun’s magnetic field and are seen as bright eruptions visible above the Sun’s surface. Unlike filament prominences, which appear as straight lines, quiescent prominences appear curved or broken up into several parts.
They are typically much longer than filament prominences, with lengths ranging from a few million kilometres up to a few hundred million kilometres. Quiescent prominences also evolve much more slowly than filament prominences, typically lasting for several weeks or months before slowly being worn away by the Sun’s corona.
Can Sun spots be cancerous?
No, sun spots are not cancerous and are not related to skin cancer in any way. Sun spots, also known as age spots or liver spots, are a type of harmless discoloration that appears on the skin. They are caused by sun exposure and are not associated with any underlying medical condition or disease.
Sun spots tend to appear on areas of the skin that are most exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, shoulders, arms, and back. They are usually small, circular, and darker in color than the surrounding skin.
Sun spots are generally not painful or harmful, but in some cases, they can be cosmetically unappealing. To reduce their appearance, you can use over-the-counter skin care products or seek the advice of a dermatologist.
What are prominences and what causes them?
Prominences are large clouds of energized gas suspended above the surface of the Sun due to intense magnetic activity. These clouds are denser than the surrounding solar material and are filled with an abundance of charged particles that extend into the corona.
Prominences are caused by the interaction between the Sun’s magnetic field and the surrounding plasma, which is the fourth-state of matter consisting of electrons, ions, and neutral atoms. The solar magnetic field curves and intensifies, causing the plasma to become trapped by magnetic tension.
The material within the magnetic fields is heated, which causes the material to become denser and heavier, thus forming the prominence.
Prominences also form when the Sun undergoes eruptions, like coronal mass ejections or flares that can cause the prominence material to be ejected into space. Prominences can be further divided into three categories based on the shape of the loops or arcade that holds the prominence: Quiescent Prominences, Active Prominences and Large-Scale Active Prominences.
Quiescent Prominences form when plasma is ejected following a coronal mass ejection, while Active Prominences form due to a localized magnetic field change and are visible during solar flares. Finally, Large-Scale Active Prominences form through matter ejected by active regions that move above the Sun’s surface.
How big are prominences?
Prominences can vary greatly in size. They can range from as small as a few thousand kilometers up to hundreds of thousands of kilometers across. On the Sun, some of the largest prominences can extend out over six hundred thousand kilometers in length.
Areas of increased prominence activity are often associated with the formation of large-scale structures known as “filaments” that can span tens to hundreds of thousands of kilometers across. Magnetic field configurations in these structures facilitate the growth of hot plasma that can eventually scab off of the Sun’s surface and extend into regions with lower gravitational fields, thus forming a prominence.
Do prominences occur on sunspots?
Yes, prominences do occur on sunspots. A prominence is composed of relatively cool, dense plasma or material that is held together by strong magnetic forces. Prominences often form loops in the sun’s atmosphere and can appear as arching columns of gas in wide variations of color.
Sunspots are dark concentrations of magnetic fields that appear in the sun’s photosphere and are typically cooler than the surrounding atmosphere. They are often the site of intense magnetic activity and the source of solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and eruptions of prominences.
Sunspots can form when twisted magnetic fields concentrate and store huge amounts of energy in the solar atmosphere. This can allow the plasma to escape, which can then create a solar prominence. These prominences become visible when they reach the photosphere of the sun.
How is prominence defined?
Prominence is defined as the relative importance or visibility of an individual, place, or thing. It’s determined by the amount of attention given to something by the public, the media, and other influential sources.
It can also be used to describe the reputation of an individual, group, brand, or organization. Prominence, in short, is the measure of a thing’s significance in the eyes of those who observe it. Being prominent brings with it certain advantages, including greater public awareness and support, more influential connections, and an increased sense of belonging.
On the other hand, to become prominent, an individual or organization must often meet certain conditions. These conditions may include demonstrating success, having an identifiable presence and reputation, and engaging with the public in meaningful ways.
What causes solar flares prominences and sunspots?
Solar flares, prominences and sunspots are all caused by the same source: magnetic fields in the Sun’s atmosphere. Magnetic fields are created by the movement of electrically charged particles in the Sun’s atmosphere, which create intense magnetic forces.
The concentration of magnetic fields in certain regions of the Sun’s atmosphere results in the solar phenomena of flares, prominences and sunspots.
Solar flares are intense bursts of radiation created when magnetic reconnection occurs in the atmosphere of the Sun. This is when two oppositely charged magnetic fields meet, causing an intense release of energy.
This energy release is what results in the bright flare that we observe.
Solar prominences are an arching prominence of relatively cooler and denser ionized plasma that reaches into the corona from the chromosphere. These prominences are suspended in the Sun’s atmosphere by the powerful magnetic fields.
When these magnetic fields become unstable and break, the prominences erupt, which we observe as the characteristic loop shape of these brighter regions.
Lastly, sunspots are dark regions on the surface of the Sun that are caused by concentrations of magnetic fields on the surface. When the intensity of the magnetic fields is strong enough, it inhibits the convection of hot plasma in that region, causing the appearance of a dark spot on the surface.
Sunspots usually appear in pairs with opposite magnetic polarities, and they usually last a few days before fading away.
In conclusion, solar flares, prominences and sunspots are all caused by the movement and concentration of magnetic fields in the Sun’s atmosphere. These magnetic fields cause intense releases of energy, inhibit convection of hot plasma and suspend cool plasma arches in the atmosphere, all of which produce the different solar phenomena we observe.
What is the common cause of sunspots flares and prominences quizlet?
The most common cause of sunspots, flares, and prominences is the movement of solar magnetic fields. Sunspots are areas of lower temperature on the sun’s surface caused by concentrations of magnetic fields.
These fields can become so concentrated that they erupt, creating explosions called solar flares. The magnetic fields, if strong enough, can also cause clusters of gas called prominences, which are just above the surface of the sun.
So in summary, solar magnetic fields are the common cause of sunspots, flares, and prominences.
Can solar flares cause prominences?
Yes, solar flares can cause prominences, although the exact mechanism is not well understood. A prominence is a towering arch or loop of plasma that is visible against the sun’s surface. Solar prominences are usually caused when magnetic fields become tangled and are put under extreme duress by solar flares.
The resulting tension between the magnetic fields causes them to stretch and bend, forming a prominence. This theory suggests that while prominences are caused by ultimately by the solar flare, they are only formed due to the magnetic fields that are present around the solar flare.
How are sunspots prominences and solar flares related?
Sunspots, prominences, and solar flares are all linked to solar activity on the Sun’s surface. Sunspots are dark spots, usually seen in pairs, which signify intense magnetic activity. Prominences are eruptions of hot gas in a loop or arch, usually surrounding sunspots, which can reach thousands of kilometres high.
Finally, solar flares are sudden bursts of heat and light, which take place above or below sunspots. All three phenomena are related because they are caused by the same magnetic storms on the Sun’s surface.
Additionally, they often occur together or in conjunction with one another. For example, a solar flare may be followed by an eruption of a prominence, or a prominence might appear first before a sunspot and then a flare.
As such, sunspots, prominences, and solar flares are all related and often seen together on the Sun’s surface.
What damage can a solar flare cause?
Solar flares can be incredibly damaging and dangerous, ranging from disrupting power grids and satellites to potentially even causing damage to an astronaut’s eyesight. According to NASA, solar flares are “enormous explosions that occur near the surface of the sun, emitting intense amounts of high-frequency radiation” and can reach temperatures of up to 20 million kelvins.
During these flares, high-energy particles are also released, which then fly out from the sun in all directions.
Solar flares can cause disruptions in communication transmission and can lead to a potential global blackout by disrupting the power grid worldwide. They can also interfere with navigation and communication satellites, disrupting data transmission, currency market transactions, and public services like air traffic control and weather forecast accuracy.
Solar flares can also be hazardous to astronauts in outer space. The high levels of radiation could cause eye damage and an increased risk of radiation sickness. Fortunately, there are plenty of preventative measures taken to ensure the safety of astronauts and the public alike.
Spacecraft are often shielded to protect astronauts from the radiation, while protective eyewear and body shielding can provide protection on the ground. So while solar flares pose a number of risks to our technology and infrastructure, these risks can be mitigated.
What is the most likely cause of a solar flare?
The most likely cause of a solar flare is an eruption of energy on the surface of the Sun. Solar flares are created when large amounts of energy are suddenly and violently released in the Sun’s atmosphere.
These flares originate from within active regions on the Sun’s surface where intense magnetic fields are present. In these active regions, the twisting, tangling, and constantly shifting magnetic field lines can become too much for the region to hold together, leading to a release of the stored magnetic energy.
This sudden release of energy is what manifests as a solar flare.