My animation of the 100,000-km-tall [60,000-mile-tall] solar prominence that occurred on the edge of the sun on January 2, created from 12 captures over 97 minutes using a Lunt 60mm hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.
NASA explains solar prominences this way:
A solar prominence (also known as a filament when viewed against the solar disk) is a large, bright feature extending outward from the sun’s surface. Prominences are anchored to the sun’s surface in the photosphere [sun’s visible surface], and extend outwards into the sun’s hot outer atmosphere, called the corona. A prominence forms over timescales of about a day, and stable prominences may persist in the corona for several months, looping hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Scientists are still researching how and why prominences are formed.
The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas comprised of electrically charged hydrogen and helium. The prominence plasma flows along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun’s internal dynamo. An erupting prominence occurs when such a structure becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma.
Thank you, PK Imaging!
Bottom line: Early January 2019 images and animated gif of the sun and solar prominence.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.