Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu

Solar Prominences

Joe Calleja-Gera

Whenever we are observing and studying solar images it is clear that certain apparent shapes of prominence are fairly common. We have therefore collected all the distinct varieties that we have come across into a classification scheme.

Firstly we present examples of each of the varieties of prominence observed - there are fourteen in total. These images are then arranged into two graphical representations of the scheme. The first of these arranges the prominences into a kind of ‘family tree’ order, where prominences are linked to each other by morphological similarities. The order does not represent a strict evolutionary sequence, although it is entirely likely that many of these prominences can evolve into each other - this is further discussed below. The diagram is, in this regard, very similar to the Hubble tuning-fork diagram in which observed shapes of galaxies are laid out in a sequence that is dictated by their morphology, but is not at all representative of any kind of galaxy evolution.

Hubble tuning-fork diagram in which observed shapes of galaxies are laid out in a sequence that is dictated by their morphology.

Hubble tuning-fork diagram in which observed shapes of galaxies are laid out in a sequence dictated by their morphology


The second graphical representation involves the use of statistics to alter the way the family trees are organised. They are also organised more clearly into the three families – the pillar form, the pyramid form and the arch form. The statistics involved counting the numbers of each type of prominence in our data sets. This could then be used to work out the percentages of how often each type occurred, to give a sense of which types were more likely to be seen than others. The results of this analysis are given.