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Sun Globe 3

Image of Sun Globe 3
THE SUN: The NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has been imaging the Sun since 1996. It produced this spectacular portrait of our star in 1999. Featured in the upper right is a huge, handle-shaped prominence—a cloud of relatively cooler plasma held aloft high in the corona by a large magnetic field that is anchored to the Sun’s surface. A typical prominence extends over thousands of kilometers, and can last as long as a few months. Sometimes prominences erupt along with coronal mass ejections. These blasts of charged gas rip through the solar wind, and can impact the bodies of the Solar System. Luckily, Earth’s magnetosphere acts as a shield, protecting us. Image Credit: SOHO/NASA/ESA
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