File:Wandering Field Lines During Filament Eruption -Hinode XRT-.webm
On April 5th, XRT observed this interesting event while tracking NOAA active region 11451. The region had previously produced some of the largest events of the current solar cycle but was in a decay phase during this second appearance on the earthward face of the Sun. Though it's not obvious from these XRT images alone, inspection of AIA images (see original post; link below) show that what we see wandering into XRT's field of view is the left side of a filament eruption that lifted off above the adjacent active region 11450. Filaments (or prominences when they poke out beyond the limb) are structures anchored in the photopshere that extend out into the corona, supported by magnetic forces, despite being composed of material much cooler the typical coronal temperatures. They erupt when the surrounding magnetic field becomes unstable, stressing the field lines of the filament somewhat like a rubber band being stretched and twisted until it snaps. There is still much to be learned about the physics of these eruptions, which is an area of very active research.
Questions and comments welcome at xrtpow "at" gmail "dot" com
Hinode is a Japanese mission developed and launched by ISAS/JAXA, with NAOJ as domestic partner and NASA and STFC (UK) as international partners. It is operated by these agencies in co-operation with ESA and the NSC (Norway).
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