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"Bastille Day" solar flare
January 01, 2001
Bastille Day solar flare cought by TRACE

The Sun is now believed to be at the peak of its eleven-year cycle of activity. On July 14, 2000 there was a solar flare, now known as the "Bastille Day" flare. This is an image of the flare after it erupted, and was captured by NASA’s Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) spacecraft. The area is about 186,000 miles across, large enough to span 23 Earths. Here we are looking down over a "slinky-like" formation of coronal loops, immense arches of hot, electrically charged gas that erupts from the Sun’s surface and follows invisible lines of magnetic force in the solar atmosphere.

The image is false color and shows radiation emitted by gas at about 2.7 million degrees Fahrenheit.

image: NASA/Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory

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