Thank you Carlos and Lee. Carlos, that prominence has been wonderful to watch. We're lucky to have the others in the solar forum to compare views with at different times of the day.
Lee, flares are a little different than a regular prominence. Solar flares can last minutes to several hours and are sudden eruptions of energy due to magnetic stress that can sometimes lead to coronal mass ejections of radiation and other gas particles.
Prominences are gaseous clouds that extend in or above the chromosphere. These "clouds" are called prominences when viewed off the limb of the Sun and called filaments when viewed against the solar disk/"surface". They are separated into 2 main classes, "Active" and "Quiescent". Within the active class, you might see flare like prominences such as surges, eruptive prominences, sprays, flare loop. Most of what you view though will be in the quiet or "Quiescent" class, which are the types I've sketched in this thread.
I have sketched several QRF eruptions in the past. It's hard for me to distinguish them from erupting prominences and up until recently, I thought they were one and the same.
Below is an example of how fast they can appear and then break off or dissipate.
To see these types of features, located in the lower part of the corona and in the chromosphere, you need to have a very narrow bandwidth called hydrogen alpha. The entry fee so far for this type of viewing is about $600 with a PST (personal solar telescope). There is a new company in the making called Lunt Solar Systems that uses a slightly different construction in their filters/solar scopes, and along with that will be lower prices for lower angstroms and aperture. At the moment, they are looking to have their filters available this spring/early summer if I'm remembering right. Until then, no one can comment on how good these filters will be, but expectations are pretty high.
White light filter viewing is much cheaper and allows you to view in the photoshere. You won't be able to see features like prominences, but you will get better definition in the sunspots themselves as well as see some granulation and faculae. I prefer the views through white light filters for sunspots, but find benefits with side to side views with both filters to get the most out of my viewing sessions. You can buy Baader film for about $20 and make your own white light filter for one of your 8" scope.
For more info on h-alpha viewing, David Knicely has a great article: http://www.prairieas...lub.org/halpha/