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1590s, "projection," from obsolete French prominence (16c.), from Latin prominentia "a jutting out" (see prominent). Meaning "distinction, conspicuousness" is attested by 1827. As a type of solar phenomenon, from 1862.
prominence prom·i·nence (prŏm'ə-nəns)
The quality or condition of being prominent.
A small projection or protuberance.
An eruption of tonguelike clouds of glowing ionized gas extending from the Sun's chromosphere and sometimes reaching hundreds of thousands of kilometers into space. When viewed against the solar surface instead of along the edges of its disk, prominences appear as dark, sinuous lines known as filaments. Usually associated with sunspot activity, solar prominences can influence Earth's atmosphere by interfering with electromagnetic activity. ◇ Active prominences erupt suddenly and usually disappear within minutes or hours. Quiescent prominences form more smoothly and can last for several months. See also solar flare.