On March 9, photographer Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau of Rafaela, Argentina, was privileged to capture a magnificent wall of plasma rising some 100,000 km above the solar surface.

Solar astronomers have seen these structures on the sun many times before. They often appear in rings around the sun’s poles and are called “polar crown prominences.”

It appears as if narrow streams of plasma at the top of the protrusion are constantly falling back to the bottom, much like a waterfall.

Photographer Schaberger told Spaceweather.com, “On my computer screen, it looked like hundreds of plasma wires dripping down a wall. It was a spectacle that left me speechless.”

Strangely enough, Poupeau’s ‘plasma threads’ descend faster than the surrounding magnetic forces seem to allow. Because it also occurs on a smaller scale in Earth’s fusion reactors and undermines efforts to sustain an energy-producing reaction, nuclear engineers are interested in understanding how this phenomenon occurs. The study of these prominences may lead to useful innovations.

Plasma is still dropping today. Amateur astronomers with solar telescopes can see the structure on the southeastern edge of the sun.