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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.

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)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best, and he will never stop reminding The Last Jedi's detractors that Luke Skywalker's pivotal moment in Return of the Jedi was literally throwing his lightsaber away and refusing to fight.