During the solar eclipse totality, I noticed pink lights on the rim around the moon. In a telescope, they were obviously flare like. Id like to know what causes them to have that color. Not knowing the proper terms, I have not been able to make much progress researching them.

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    $\begingroup$ thanks for asking! Saw a couple very prominent even just naked eye. So great! $\endgroup$
    – Mike M
    Apr 9 at 22:21

2 Answers 2


That would have been the so called 'solar prominences' i.e. eruptions of plasma on the surface of the Sun (see https://www.iflscience.com/next-months-total-solar-eclipse-could-come-with-bright-pink-streamers-73585 ). They are not always visible during an eclipse, but at times of high solar activity they can be seen, and we are practically at the maximum of the 11-year solar activity cycle. I could see them on the TV pictures as well.

The red/pink colour of the prominences is due to the H-$\alpha $- transition of atomic hydrogen . Many astronomical deep space objects show this red colour typical for a a hot low density hydrogen gas,

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    $\begingroup$ If I am not mistaken, that color is also close to where the sensitivity of a typical camera sensor peaks, which would exaggerate / over-emphasize the prominences and their color. $\endgroup$ Apr 9 at 23:51
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    $\begingroup$ @JörgWMittag, Some of us saw a bright red (not pink) spot with our naked eyes. $\endgroup$ Apr 10 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ I remember seeing pink edges during the 1999 eclipse. Here's a photo on wikimedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_eclipse_1999_4.jpg $\endgroup$
    – molnarm
    Apr 10 at 6:58

The chromosphere is the layer of the sunset atmosphere just above the photosphere (the visible surface of the sun). It contains various gases, including hydrogen and helium, which can emit light when energized. During a total solar eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun's disk, some parts of the chromosphere may still be visible as bright pink or red patches around the edges of the moon.


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