Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

June 29, 1998

Solar Magnetic Bananas
Credit: A. Gary et al. (NASA/MSFC), NASA

Explanation: Is that our Sun? The unusual banana-shaped loops shown above are actually part of a computer-generated snap-shot of our Sun's magnetic field. This animated frame was constructed using data from the ground-based U.S. Solar Vector Magnetograph and the space-based Japanese X-Ray Telescope Yohkoh. Surfaces of constant magnetic field strength loop through the Sun's corona, break through the Sun's surface, and connect regions of magnetic activity such as sunspots. Recently, contact has been interrupted with the Sun-watching SOHO satellite. Although SOHO had completed its two year mission, attempts are still being made to re-establish communication.

Tomorrow's picture: The Universe Evolves

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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