Better known as solar prominences or filaments, Prominences are dense clouds of material suspended above the surface of the Sun by loops of magnetic field.
Image by J P Brahic
Prominences and filaments are actually the same things except that prominences are seen projecting out above the limb, or edge, of the Sun. Both filaments and prominences can remain in a quiet or quiescent state for days or weeks. However, as the magnetic loops that support them slowly change, filaments and prominences can erupt and rise off of the Sun over the course of a few minutes or hours. [**]