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“The TRACE images may be used without restrictions in publications of any kind. We appreciate an acknowledgement indicating that the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer, TRACE, is a mission of the Stanford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research, and part of the NASA Small Explorer program.”  Taken from the TRACE web site.

“The transition from the photosphere, where magnetic fields and plasma are in rough equipartition,  to the corona, where magnetic fields dominate, is extremely difficult  to model and, until recently, to observe at high temporal and spatial  resolution. Many of the physical problems that arise here, such as plasma confinement, reconnection, wave propagation, and plasma heating arise  throughout space physics and astrophysics. The detailed study of these  processed in the solar outer atmosphere is invaluable to astrophysics  in general, and stellar studies in particular.” Taken from the TRACE web site.

Sunspot Loops in Ultraviolet

Image Credit: TRACE Project, NASA

 

Explanation: It was a quiet day on the Sun. This image shows, however, that even during off days the Sun's surface is a busy place. Shown in ultraviolet light, the relatively cool dark regions have temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius. Large sunspot group AR 9169 from the last solar cycle is visible as the bright area near the horizon. The bright glowing gas flowing around the sunspots has a temperature of over one million degrees Celsius. The reason for the high temperatures is unknown but thought to be related to the rapidly changing magnetic field loops that channel solar plasma. Large sunspot group AR 9169 moved across the Sun during 2000 September and decayed in a few weeks.

Watch the video from NASA about SOHO and the TRACE project:

 

STEREO sattelites have given us a view of the entire sun for the first time in history:

 

Fiery Looping Rain on the Sun:

 

Current Solar Data