A NASA camera has captured an amazing view of a solar prominence, a breathtaking astronomical event that sees the sun eject huge amounts of superheated plasma.
The video depicts a massive loop of plasma ejecting from the sun’s surface and across the face of the star. The arc of plasma was so large that NASA’s space camera could not take it all in.
According to Space.com, the solar storm happened late on Friday night, and another solar prominence sparked up just over four hours later. Footage of the solar prominence was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
In a solar prominence, the sun is ejecting massive amounts of plasma and radiation into deep space. The ejected plasma often takes the shape of a beautiful loop across the sun’s surface and can be extremely breathtaking to watch.
"The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas made of electrically charged hydrogen and helium," read a statement NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which operates the SDO. "The prominence plasma flows along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun’s internal dynamo. An erupting prominence occurs when such a structure becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma."
The massive solar prominence was not aimed at Earth, according to NASA, and will have no effects on our planet. However, solar ejections like this one can occasionally be disruptive if aimed toward the planet.
The radiation emitted by a solar ejection, usually X-rays and UV radiation, can sometimes reach Earth and disrupt radio communications traveling through the upper atmosphere. The radiation can sometimes affect electronic operations of satellites in orbit as well.
Last week, ejections from a solar flare reached Earth and ignited a geomagnetic storm in the atmosphere. The radiation created a strong northern lights display and briefly interfered with long-range communications.
Watch the stunning video of the solar prominence below.