The Sun is no stranger to solar flares (explosions of magnetic energy) or prominence eruptions (gas bursting from the surface) but the combination solar flare/prominence eruption that recently exploded on the Sun has created an astonishing and visually remarkable eruption.
The video of the explosion was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. According to Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy the explosion could have blasted a billion tons of material away from the Sun in a plume as big as the Sun itself at perhaps over a million kilometers across.
From the video, it appears that plasma was released from the Sun’s surface, in a fountain of particles that spread outward and then collapsed back down to the Sun. Blasts like this are capable of shooting material away into space, but Earthlings needn’t worry. This particular blast was aimed away from Earth (as are most events like this.)
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