, Volume 100, Issue 1-2, pp 415-434

Modern observations of solar prominences

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We review observational studies of solar prominences with some reference to theoretical understandings. We lay emphasis on the following findings: (1) An important discovery was made by Leroy, Bommier, and Sahal-Bréchot concerning the direction of the magnetic field inside some high-altitude, high-latitude prominences, where the field vector points in the opposite direction from the one which would be expected from the potential field calculated from the observed photospheric magnetic field. (2) Landman suggests the possibility of a high total density of ∼ 10−11 g cm −3 for the main body of quiescent prominences, ∼ 50 times higher than the value hitherto believed. (3) Flow patterns, nearly parallel to the magnetic neutral lines, were detected in the 105 K plasma near and in prominences. (4) Coronal loop structures were found overlying prominences as viewed from X-ray photographs. We propose also an evolutionary scheme by taking the magnetic field topologies into account.

The fundamental question why a prominence is present remains basically unanswered.