Skip to main content

NASA’s Instagram of the Sun’s Atmosphere is Beautiful and Frightening

Don't make the sun angry. You wouldn't like it when it's angry.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 12.19.06 PM

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.

Recommended Videos

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.

(via NASA)

Meanwhile in related links

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: