Solar flare? Maybe not. Explaining four different kinds of solar storms.

Like terrestrial storms, solar storms trigger effects that range from beautiful to annoying to dangerous. But what causes them? Here we explain four different kinds of solar outbursts that can impact us here on Earth.  

2. Solar filaments

Seen from overhead, filaments appear as dark, thread-like features across the sun's surface. They consist of searingly hot gas that nevertheless is cooler than the surface. Seen broadside, however, they form a visible arch above the sun's surface, known as a solar prominence. The arc traces a looping magnetic field the electrically charged gas follows. Filaments are thought to be one source for coronal-mass ejections, vast, high-speed clouds of charged particles that filaments can release in crack-the-whip-like fashion if one end of the magnetic loop looses its grip. The coronal-mass ejections from filaments tend to be relatively weak.

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