Ever see a space movie or TV show? You probably have. (My personal favorite is Battlestar Galactica, the remake.) In these movies or shows, I’m pretty sure at one time or another you viewed a magnificent, fiery explosion or reaction on a star. Guess what? Those things aren’t just for the movies — they actually happen in real-life. One such example is what is happens on our very own Sun.
The following is a photograph of an eruption of a “solar filament” on our Sun. According to NASA:
At the end of last month, a long standing solar filament suddenly erupted into space producing an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The filament had been held up for days by the Sun’s ever changing magnetic field and the timing of the eruption was unexpected. Watched closely by the Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the resulting explosion shot electrons and ions into the Solar System, some of which arrived at Earth three days later and impacted Earth’s magnetosphere, causing visible aurorae. Loops of plasma surrounding an active region can be seen above the erupting filament in the ultraviolet image.
I’m fairly certain I did not understand a word of NASA’s explanation — but the resulting picture is so damn cool. Check it out, and be sure to view the bonus video after it:
[via NASA ]