Pictures of solar prominences

Facts about solar prominences and images of eruptions.

Spectacular Prominence Lift-off by Mike Garbett, Walsall, West Midlands, UK. Equipment: HEQ5 Pro, Equinox 120 refractor, Daystar Quark, PG Grasshopper 3 camera.

Solar prominences are huge, looping structures of plasma that can be seen erupting from the surface of the Sun, often appearing as bright loops against the darkness of space.

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The Sun is a scorching yellow dwarf star with a global magnetic field that’s sustained by internal flows of electrically charged gas.

Sometimes, huge loops of plasma can extend outwards from the surface of the Sun, flowing along magnetic field lines and pushing out from the photosphere into the corona, the Sun’s hot atmosphere. These are solar prominences.

Solar Prominence 30-06-2012 by André van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: Lunt 60/BF1200, NEQ6, DMK21au618
Solar Prominence 30-06-2012 by André van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: Lunt 60/BF1200, NEQ6, DMK21au618

In just an hour, active prominences can shoot to heights of 750,000km and can stretch to diameters much larger than Earth.

Coronal mass ejections are giant eruptions of plasma that eject solar material out into space, and can occur during a solar prominence.

Solar prominences make for great features to observe and to photograph, but this must always be done with extreme caution.

Observing the Sun without proper, certified solar safety equipment can severely damage your eyesight and your equipment.

Large Prominence and surface shot by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Vixen SVX Mount.
Large Prominence and surface shot by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Vixen SVX Mount.

Below is a selection of solar prominences captured by BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers and solar astrophotographers.

Many of our prominence images were captured by Gary Palmer, who’s work can be seen at Gary Palmer Astronomy.

For more info solar astronomy, read our guides on how to observe the Sun and how to photograph the Sun.

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And if you are an experienced solar astrophotographer, don’t forget to send us your images or share them with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Prominence 2011.06.05 by Nicolas Soldati, Fribourg, Switzerland. Equipment: Zeiss APQ 150/1200, 4x telecentric, DayStar QPE 0.4Å Ha Filter, Point Grey Research Grasshopper Camera.
Prominence 2011.06.05 by Nicolas Soldati, Fribourg, Switzerland. Equipment: Zeiss APQ 150/1200, 4x telecentric, DayStar QPE 0.4Å Ha Filter, Point Grey Research Grasshopper Camera.
747 and Prominence by Morton Hardaker, Prestwood, Bucks, UK. Equipment: Microsoft Lifecam Cinema, Coronado PST, CG-5 Advanced GT mount.
747 and Prominence by Morton Hardaker, Prestwood, Bucks, UK. Equipment: Microsoft Lifecam Cinema, Coronado PST, CG-5 Advanced GT mount.
Solar Flare by Gary Palmer, Chailey, W. Sussex, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Celestron CGem mount
Solar Flare by Gary Palmer, Chailey, W. Sussex, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Celestron CGem mount
Large Prominence on the Sun by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Vixen SVX Mount.
Large Prominence on the Sun by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Vixen SVX Mount.
Prominence Lift Off by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Vixen SVX Mount.
Prominence Lift Off by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Vixen SVX Mount.
Prominent Prominences by John W. O'Neal, II, Amherst, Ohio, USA. Equipment: Lunt Solar Systems LS60THa, B1200mm Blocking Filter, 0.5x focal reducer (for full disk image), TeleVue 2.5x Powermate, Losmandy G-11, DMK31AU03.as CCD.
Prominent Prominences by John W. O’Neal, II, Amherst, Ohio, USA. Equipment: Lunt Solar Systems LS60THa, B1200mm Blocking Filter, 0.5x focal reducer (for full disk image), TeleVue 2.5x Powermate, Losmandy G-11, DMK31AU03.as CCD.
Detached Prominence by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, Meade LX 80, Opticstar PX 137.
Detached Prominence by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, Meade LX 80, Opticstar PX 137.
Large Prominence on the Sun by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, Opticstar PX 137, Celestron CGEM mount.
Large Prominence on the Sun by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, Opticstar PX 137, Celestron CGEM mount.
Surface shot of the Sun by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, Opticstar PX 137, CGEM mount.
Surface shot of the Sun by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, Opticstar PX 137, CGEM mount.
Solar Filament 17-02-2013 by André van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: Lunt 60, LS75 Double stack, BF1200.
Solar Filament 17-02-2013 by André van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: Lunt 60, LS75 Double stack, BF1200.
Solar filament 17-02-2013 Updated by André van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: Lunt 60, LS75 Double stack, DMK21-618.
Solar filament 17-02-2013 Updated by André van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: Lunt 60, LS75 Double stack, DMK21-618.
Solar Prominence by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Celestron CGEM mount.
Solar Prominence by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, DMK 31, Celestron CGEM mount.
Solar Eruption by Tom Wakefield, Salford, Manchester, UK. Equipment: Opticstar PM 137X, Coronado solarmax 60 Double stacked, 2X barlow, EQ6 mount.
Solar Eruption by Tom Wakefield, Salford, Manchester, UK. Equipment: Opticstar PM 137X, Coronado solarmax 60 Double stacked, 2X barlow, EQ6 mount.
Solar Prominences by Bas van Beek, The Netherlands. Equipment: Coronado Solarmax 60mm BF10, 4
Solar Prominences by Bas van Beek, The Netherlands. Equipment: Coronado Solarmax 60mm BF10, 4″ Tele Vue refractor, EQ6, DMK21.
Partial Solar Disc with Prominences by Stuart Green, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: Coronado(PST), 2.5x TeleVue Barlow lens, DMK41 mono CCD.
Partial Solar Disc with Prominences by Stuart Green, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: Coronado(PST), 2.5x TeleVue Barlow lens, DMK41 mono CCD.
Partial Solar Disc and Prominences by Stuart Green, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: 150mm refractor, hydrogen alpha filter, 2.5X TeleVue Barlow, DMK41 mono CCD.
Partial Solar Disc and Prominences by Stuart Green, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: 150mm refractor, hydrogen alpha filter, 2.5X TeleVue Barlow, DMK41 mono CCD.
Solar Flare by Tom Wakefield, Salford, Manchester, UK. Equipment: Coronado Solarmax 60 D/S, Opticstar PX 137M, 3 X barlow, EQ 6 Mount.
Solar Flare by Tom Wakefield, Salford, Manchester, UK. Equipment: Coronado Solarmax 60 D/S, Opticstar PX 137M, 3 X barlow, EQ 6 Mount.
Solar Active Region 1785 Surge Prominence by Stuart Green, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: 150mm Solar Scope, DMK41 mono CCD.
Solar Active Region 1785 Surge Prominence by Stuart Green, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: 150mm Solar Scope, DMK41 mono CCD.
Sun Prominence by David Saunders, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, Canon 450d, Mead LX90, Backyard EOS @x5 zoom.
Sun Prominence by David Saunders, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, Canon 450d, Mead LX90, Backyard EOS @x5 zoom.
Solar Fireworks for the New Year by Gary Palmer, Rahayder, Wales, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90 mm, Opticstar px137, Celestron CGEM mount.
Solar Fireworks for the New Year by Gary Palmer, Rahayder, Wales, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90 mm, Opticstar px137, Celestron CGEM mount.
Solar Prominence by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, Philips webcam.
Solar Prominence by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, Philips webcam.
Promtastic! 4/5/14 by Jarrod Bennett, Mutxamel, Spain. Equipment: 88mm Ha scope, EQ 3-2, DMK41 ccd, Baader UV/IR cut filter
Promtastic! 4/5/14 by Jarrod Bennett, Mutxamel, Spain. Equipment: 88mm Ha scope, EQ 3-2, DMK41 ccd, Baader UV/IR cut filter
Sunspots & Medium Solar Flare by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Lunt 35mm Ha Telescope, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, 2x barlow and DMK41 mono camera.
Sunspots & Medium Solar Flare by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Lunt 35mm Ha Telescope, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, 2x barlow and DMK41 mono camera.
Image of AA2080, 2085 and 2082 on the Sun by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 60mm Solar Max 2, Double Stacked, ZWO ASI120MC CCD, Nexstar Mount
Image of AA2080, 2085 and 2082 on the Sun by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 60mm Solar Max 2, Double Stacked, ZWO ASI120MC CCD, Nexstar Mount
The Sun AA2080, 2085 and 2082 by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 60mm Solar Max 2, Double Stacked, ZWO ASI120MC CCD, Nexstar Mount
The Sun AA2080, 2085 and 2082 by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 60mm Solar Max 2, Double Stacked, ZWO ASI120MC CCD, Nexstar Mount
Super Prominence by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Lunt 35mm Ha Telescope, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, 2x barlow and DMK41 mono camera.
Super Prominence by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Lunt 35mm Ha Telescope, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, 2x barlow and DMK41 mono camera.
Solar Prominence (Flare Witch) by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 90mm Solarmax II, ZWO120MM CCD, 2 x Coronado Barlow.
Solar Prominence (Flare Witch) by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 90mm Solarmax II, ZWO120MM CCD, 2 x Coronado Barlow.
X2.0 Flare by Jarrod Bennett, Mutxamel, Spain. Equipment: 88mm PST mod, ZWO ASI120mm, Baader uv/ir filter
X2.0 Flare by Jarrod Bennett, Mutxamel, Spain. Equipment: 88mm PST mod, ZWO ASI120mm, Baader uv/ir filter
Spectacular Prominence Lift-off by Mike Garbett, Walsall, West Midlands, UK. Equipment: HEQ5 Pro, Equinox 120 refractor, Daystar Quark, PG Grasshopper 3 camera.
Spectacular Prominence Lift-off by Mike Garbett, Walsall, West Midlands, UK. Equipment: HEQ5 Pro, Equinox 120 refractor, Daystar Quark, PG Grasshopper 3 camera.
Active Region 2266 and Prominence by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 90mm SolarMax II, ZWO120ASIMM Camera
Active Region 2266 and Prominence by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 90mm SolarMax II, ZWO120ASIMM Camera
Solar Prominence by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Solar Telescope (PST)Coronado, NexImage Burst Colour camera.
Solar Prominence by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Solar Telescope (PST)Coronado, NexImage Burst Colour camera.
Solar Surface & Prominence by Ewan, Hastings, UK. Equipment: Quark Chromosphere, Altair Astro 80mm EDT F6, DMK21AU618, AZEQ6.
Solar Surface & Prominence by Ewan, Hastings, UK. Equipment: Quark Chromosphere, Altair Astro 80mm EDT F6, DMK21AU618, AZEQ6.
Explosive Solar Eruption by Graham Green, Waterlooville, Hampshire, UK. Equipment: Lunt LS 100THa, Point Grey Research Flea3 GE camera, SkyWatcher NEQ6 Pro mount.
Explosive Solar Eruption by Graham Green, Waterlooville, Hampshire, UK. Equipment: Lunt LS 100THa, Point Grey Research Flea3 GE camera, SkyWatcher NEQ6 Pro mount.
Solar Prominence by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, Celestron Neximage Burst camera - colour.
Solar Prominence by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, Celestron Neximage Burst camera – colour.
Solar Prominence by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, Celestron Neximage Burst camera - colour.
Solar Prominence by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, Celestron Neximage Burst camera – colour.
Solar prominences in Hydrogen-alpha by Stephen Jennette, Morecambe, UK. Equipment: Quark Chromosphere, Altair Astro 115mm Triplet, Chameleon mono CCD, Skywatcher EQ8.
Solar prominences in Hydrogen-alpha by Stephen Jennette, Morecambe, UK. Equipment: Quark Chromosphere, Altair Astro 115mm Triplet, Chameleon mono CCD, Skywatcher EQ8.
Arching prominence on the Sun's Eastern limb by Chris Higgins, Harrogate, UK. Equipment: Lunt 60 Hydrogen Alpha scope, ZWO ASI 174 mono CCD, 2.5x Televue Powermate.
Arching prominence on the Sun’s Eastern limb by Chris Higgins, Harrogate, UK. Equipment: Lunt 60 Hydrogen Alpha scope, ZWO ASI 174 mono CCD, 2.5x Televue Powermate.
Inverted Filaprom and Prominence by Alastair Woodward, Derby, UK. Equipment: Sky-watcher 120mm Evostar achromatic refractor, Daystar Quark Chromosphere Hydrogen Alpha eyepiece, Point Grey Blackfly IMX249
Inverted Filaprom and Prominence by Alastair Woodward, Derby, UK. Equipment: Sky-watcher 120mm Evostar achromatic refractor, Daystar Quark Chromosphere Hydrogen Alpha eyepiece, Point Grey Blackfly IMX249
Solar prominence by Rafael, South Spain. Equipment: Lunt 80 BF1800, CCD QHY5-LII
Solar prominence by Rafael, South Spain. Equipment: Lunt 80 BF1800, CCD QHY5-LII
Solar Prominence by Paco Bellido, Cordoba, Spain. Equipment: Coronado SolarMax 60 DS II,a DMK41AU02.AS.
Solar Prominence by Paco Bellido, Cordoba, Spain. Equipment: Coronado SolarMax 60 DS II,a DMK41AU02.AS.
Sol with Solar Prominences and Surface Detail by David Pickles, Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK. Equipment: Lunt LS50THa B600 Hydrogen Alpha solar telescope, Altair GPCam 290 mono CCD.
Sol with Solar Prominences and Surface Detail by David Pickles, Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK. Equipment: Lunt LS50THa B600 Hydrogen Alpha solar telescope, Altair GPCam 290 mono CCD.
Sun HA Single Shot Canon 50D by Brian.M.Johnson, Kelling Heath, UK. Equipment: Coronado Filter, Televue NP127, Canon 50d.
Sun HA Single Shot Canon 50D by Brian.M.Johnson, Kelling Heath, UK. Equipment: Coronado Filter, Televue NP127, Canon 50d.
Sun in Ha by Brian.M.Johnson, Kelling Heath, UK. Equipment: Sky 90, Canon 50D.
Sun in Ha by Brian.M.Johnson, Kelling Heath, UK. Equipment: Sky 90, Canon 50D.
Sun in H-alpha 28-05-2012 by Andre van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: Lunt 60 BF1200, NEQ6, DMK21
Sun in H-alpha 28-05-2012 by Andre van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: Lunt 60 BF1200, NEQ6, DMK21
Big Lift by Robin Durant, Brighton, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST
Big Lift by Robin Durant, Brighton, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST
Sun Shot by Gary Palmer, Llanbister, Wales, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, Lumenera Skynyx, Celestron CGEM mount.
Sun Shot by Gary Palmer, Llanbister, Wales, UK. Equipment: Solarmax II 90mm, Lumenera Skynyx, Celestron CGEM mount.
Solar MAX!!! by John W. O'Neal II, Amherst, Ohio, USA. Equipment: Lunt Solar Systems LS60THa, B1200 Blocking Filter, DMK31AU03.as, TeleVue 2.5x Powermate, Antares 0.5 focal Reducer, Losmandy G-11.
Solar MAX!!! by John W. O’Neal II, Amherst, Ohio, USA. Equipment: Lunt Solar Systems LS60THa, B1200 Blocking Filter, DMK31AU03.as, TeleVue 2.5x Powermate, Antares 0.5 focal Reducer, Losmandy G-11.
Sun Coming out from chimney by Neil Bintcliffe, Huddersfield, UK. Equipment: PST Coronado, Baader Hyperion 17mm, Canon 500D.
Sun Coming out from chimney by Neil Bintcliffe, Huddersfield, UK. Equipment: PST Coronado, Baader Hyperion 17mm, Canon 500D.
Bank Holiday Blues by Tom Wakefield, Salford, Manchester, UK. Equipment: Coronado solarmax 60 double stacked, Opticstar PM 137X, 2X barlow, EQ6 mount.
Bank Holiday Blues by Tom Wakefield, Salford, Manchester, UK. Equipment: Coronado solarmax 60 double stacked, Opticstar PM 137X, 2X barlow, EQ6 mount.
The Sun in H-Alpha by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 60mm SolarMaxII, ZWO ASI120MC Camera.
The Sun in H-Alpha by Peter J Williamson FRAS, Whittington, Shropshire, UK. Equipment: Coronado 60mm SolarMaxII, ZWO ASI120MC Camera.
Sun 12-6-14 by Stuart Hilliker, West Sussex, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, ZWO ASI 120MM
Sun 12-6-14 by Stuart Hilliker, West Sussex, UK. Equipment: Coronado PST, ZWO ASI 120MM
Solar Details by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Solar (PST) Coronado, NexImage Burst colour camera
Solar Details by Paul Mason, Cannock, UK. Equipment: Solar (PST) Coronado, NexImage Burst colour camera
Large Hedgerow Prom by Stuart Green, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: 150mm f11 solar telescope, hydrogen alpha filter, Basler acA1920-155um mono camera.
Large Hedgerow Prom by Stuart Green, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: 150mm f11 solar telescope, hydrogen alpha filter, Basler acA1920-155um mono camera.
The Sun 22nd April 2015 by Stuart Hilliker, West Sussex, UK. Equipment: Solarmax 60 II, ZWO ASI120 MMS, EQ6 Mount, 2.5 X Powermate
The Sun 22nd April 2015 by Stuart Hilliker, West Sussex, UK. Equipment: Solarmax 60 II, ZWO ASI120 MMS, EQ6 Mount, 2.5 X Powermate
Sun on 26th May by Amit Sharma, London, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher ST102, Rowan astronomy tilt adapter, Daystar quark Chromosphere, Baader IR block filter, Celestron AVX mount, QHY 5L-II mono camera
Sun on 26th May by Amit Sharma, London, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher ST102, Rowan astronomy tilt adapter, Daystar quark Chromosphere, Baader IR block filter, Celestron AVX mount, QHY 5L-II mono camera
Inverted Sun 5th November 2017 by Amit Sharma, London, UK. Equipment: TS optics 60ED, Ioptron Smarteq, Daystar Quark Chromosphere, DMK41AU04.AS
Inverted Sun 5th November 2017 by Amit Sharma, London, UK. Equipment: TS optics 60ED, Ioptron Smarteq, Daystar Quark Chromosphere, DMK41AU04.AS
Sun Closeup 28th December by Amit Sharma, London, UK. Equipment: ST102, Quark Chromosphere, DMK41AU02.AS
Sun Closeup 28th December by Amit Sharma, London, UK. Equipment: ST102, Quark Chromosphere, DMK41AU02.AS
Spicule Solar by Fernando Oliveira De Menezes, Brazil. Equipment: Ts 80mm Triplet, Daystar Cromosphere, Asi 174mm
Spicule Solar by Fernando Oliveira De Menezes, Brazil. Equipment: Ts 80mm Triplet, Daystar Cromosphere, Asi 174mm