Scientists and fans of space and science have been watching the sun intently during its period of high activity over the last several months. The sun has ejected a number of massive solar flares that have shot radiation towards Earth leading to very intense aurora borealis in places where such events are rarely seen. The radiation from solar flares has also posed a risk to communication satellites and more.
Recently telescopic images of the sun have show what appears to be a round planet-sized black, shadowy object attached to the sun by some sort of filament. After several bright material ejections from the sun, it appears that the darker object detaches and takes off into space. This led some people to believe the footage was a UFO refueling from the sun. The footage is taken from composite images captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory and processed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA scientists are now saying the feature that some mistook for a UFO is actually a frequently observed, but little-understood phenomenon called prominence. The thread that extends from the sun to what appears to be the circular prominence has cooler, denser plasma than the surrounding corona of the sun. Science doesn’t know how the prominences develop at this time but the plasma loops can shoot thousands of miles out into space. The filament is said to be dark because the prominence absorbs light in the color range that the SDO can see.
“When prominences are that extended in height above the limb (edge of the sun), it’s usually a sign that they’re about to erupt, as this one did,” said Joseph Gurman, project scientist in the Solar Physics Laboratory at NASA Goddard.