solar prominences

Kassite Kudurru (Boundary Stone), c. 1125-1100 BC

The cuneiform inscription on this kudurru records the granting by Eanna-shum-iddina, the governor of the Sealand, of five gur of corn land in the district of Edina in south Babylonia to a man called Gula-eresh. The boundaries of the land are laid out; the surveyor is named as Amurru-bel-zeri and the transfer completed by two high officials who are also named.

Nine gods are invoked to protect the monument, along with seventeen divine symbols. The symbols of the important Mesopotamian gods are most prominent: the solar disc of the sun-god Shamash, the crescent of the moon-god Sin and the eight-pointed star of Ishtar, goddess of fertility and war. The square boxes beneath these signs represent altars supporting the symbols of gods, including horned headdresses, the triangular spade of Marduk, and the wedge-shaped stylus of Nabu, the god of writing.

A prominent snake is shown on many kudurru and may, like many of the symbols, be related to the constellations. The text ends with curses on anyone who removes, ignores or destroys the kudurru.

The Sealand was one of the wealthiest regions of Babylonia. A dynasty called ‘Sealand’ first appears in records dating to the middle of the second millennium BC. It controlled the coastline of the south of Iraq and thus the trade routes down the Gulf. The Sealand rulers were defeated by the Kassite kings of Babylon in the fifteenth century BC and governors like Eanna-shum-iddina were then appointed to administer the region.


This mid-level (M1.2) solar flare was accompanied by a magnificent prominence (filament, if observed on the solar disk) eruption that turned into an impressive coronal mass ejection (CME) on June 18, 2015.

During the rising phase of eruptions, prominences often exhibit complex pre-flare disturbances, typically showing short-lived helical structures in the lower corona. 

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A special diamond ring by Robyn Hooz
Via Flickr:
Uno degli istanti più particolari dell'eclissi di sole del Marzo scorso: l'anello di diamante, ovvero l'attimo in cui l'allineamento fra terra luna e sole si interrompe e la luce torna a vincere sull'oscurità improvvisa nel giorno. Le nuvole per fortuna erano sottili e non hanno impedito la ripresa del fenomeno. Buona giornata Foto scattata con Canon EOS 600D + EF 70-300mm L IS USM

 Solar filaments a.k.a. prominences – when observed at the solar limb (above), are long clouds of partially ionized plasma suspended above the Sun’s surface by strongly sheared magnetic structures, called filament channels, that can support the dense plasma against solar gravity. Filaments may form at various locations on the Sun, however, they are always found within preexisting filament channels above polarity inversion lines which separate areas of opposite magnetic polarity regions.


A Prominence on the Sun : This eerie landscape of incandescent plasma suspended in looping and twisted magnetic fields stretched toward the Sun’s eastern horizon on September 16. Captured through a backyard telescope and narrowband filter in light from ionized hydrogen, the scene reveals a gigantic prominence lofted above the solar limb. Some 600,000 kilometers across, the magnetized plasma wall would dwarf worlds of the Solar System. Ruling gas giant Jupiter can only boast a diameter of 143,000 kilometers or so, while planet Earth’s diameter is less than 13,000 kilometers. Known as a hedgerow prominence for its appearance, the enormous structure is far from stable though, and such large solar prominences often erupt. via NASA


“Solar Prominence”, by Gary Palmer, UK

“Searing hot loops of plasma radiate from the edge of our local star – the Sun – in a phenomenon known as a solar prominence. A typical prominence covers over thousands of kilometres, with the largest ever recorded estimated to be over 800,000 kilometres, equalling roughly the radius of the Sun itself.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015

While sunspots are relatively cool and quiescent regions on the Sun, the photosphere around them sometimes erupts with outflows of high energy particles in active regions. Most often these eruptions are in the form of loops and sheets called prominences which remain under the control of the intense magnetic fields associated with solar storms. There are other events which in a matter of minutes can release enormous amounts of energy and eject material out into space. Such violent events are called solar flares.

Images credit: TRACE/NASA

Can you identify a familiar area in the northeast USA just from nighttime lights? It might be possible because many major cities are visible, including (right to left) New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond and Norfolk – Boston of the USA’s Northeast megalopolis is not pictured. The featured image was taken in 2012 from the International Space Station. In the foreground are two Russian cargo ships with prominent solar panels. This Northeast megalopolis of the USA contains almost 20 percent of the people of the USA but only about 2 percent of the land area. Also known also as the Northeast Corridor and part of the Eastern Seaboard, about 10 percent of the world’s largest companies are headquartered here. The near continuity of the lights seem to add credence to the 1960s-era prediction that the entire stretch is evolving into one continuous city.

Object Names: Earth

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit:  NASA, ISS Crew

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