Solar filaments, called prominences when viewed beyond the solar limb, are fascinating features suspended high in the solar corona. Like other structures in the universe, They owe their existence to magnetic fields. It is generally believed that the magne tic fields serve to support the cool dense filament plasma against gravity and provide thermal insulation from the much thinner and hotter solar corona. When the fields turn unstable, filaments may lead to powerful Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and are fr equently associated with large, two-ribbon flares. Solar filaments, thus, provide a unique possibility for studies of interactions between multi-temperature solar plasma and magnetic fields. Such a study is also of great importance for the space weather r esearch.
Recent observations from the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST), whose spatial resolution is a factor of 3-4 improvement over contemporary solar telescope facilities, show that filaments consist of subtle thread-like structures. The small-scale m agnetic topologies of solar filaments are best determined, indirectly, from studying the characteristics of the fine threads and their dynamics. The Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics' partnership and collaboration with the SST group has provided acces s to highest quality, first rate observations of the ultra-small scale structures and processes taking place in the Sun's atmosphere. We wish to take advantage of this unique opportunity to better understand the physics of solar filaments by studying the particular magnetic topologies that enable solar filaments to form and to be supported in the interaction with the surrounding atmospheric regions.