National Astronomical Observatory of Japan



A prominence is cool gas floating in the solar atmosphere. The Solar Optical Telescope installed on the solar observing satellite “Hinode” showed that a prominence is not static; it is a collection of unimaginably violently churning fine scale structures. If you watch the “Hinode” video closely, you can see many phenomena such as up-and-down motions, oscillations, swirls, and rising black voids sweeping the prominence. By the way, despite being heavier than the surrounding corona, this gas which comprises the prominence stays suspended for a long time. This is because the magnetic field which can’t be seen by the eye acts as a hammock, supporting the prominence. In other words, by investigating the shape and movement of the prominence we can understand the properties of the difficult-to-observe coronal magnetic field.

Text by: Joten Okamoto (Nagoya University)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)