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Shining a light on solar prominences

The surface and corona of the Sun contain magnetic structures called solar prominences, which are made of plasma expelled by a solar flare. Researchers have studied new solar data in great detail to advance our theoretical understanding of prominences.
Shining a light on solar prominences
Recent observations have provided unprecedented details about the nature and behaviour of solar prominences. This includes information gathered about waves, flows, oscillations and instabilities in the corona.

'Solar prominences: Stability, magnetohydrodynamics, and seismology' (SOLPROM-SMS) was an EU-funded research project geared towards using this new data to develop a better theoretical understanding of solar prominences. The project investigated the mathematics and fluid dynamics of these prominences over time.

In the first phase of the project, the team studied the wave properties of the solar prominences and how they changed. Using this data, researchers improved their models of how prominences form, and established new laws that govern properties such as duration and frequency.

The second phase of the project investigated instabilities in the solar prominences. Several new conclusions were reached on how the instabilities form, grow or decline, and it was shown that instabilities can occur at lower temperatures than previously thought.

Understanding solar prominences will advance our knowledge of the Sun and of space weather in general. SOLPROM-SMS has used new data on solar prominences to move our theoretical understanding of the Sun's atmosphere forward.

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