NASA posted a picture on Instagram today that looks like some kind of horrifying death ray from a sci-fi movie. In reality, it is a picture of the aftermath of a solar filament eruption on the sun, which does nothing to ease our fears of something from space killing us in a fiery apocalypse.
Contrary to what the picture might have you believe, the sun is not actually made of fire. It’s made of plasma, which NASA explains is comprised of “particles so hot that their electrons have boiled off, creating a charged gas that is interwoven with magnetic fields.”
In late September, some of this solar filament was projected into the sun’s atmosphere in a 200,000 mile long stream where it then exploded. The fiery canyon in the image is the trench left behind in the sun’s atmosphere by the explosion. Space is real scary.
- We talked about other scary things from space in the Geekosystem podcast
- This picture of Saturn is just beautiful and not scary at all—we promise
- Nasa assures us we won’t be killed by an asteroid they just noticed