An incredibly stunning solar flare erupted from the sun’s surface, throwing charged particles and searing plasma millions of miles out into space on Apr. 16.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured data from the flare — a medium-sized M-class event — which was turned into a movie by Steele Hill, media specialist at the Goddard Space Flight Center. The blast was not directed at the Earth and is unlikely to hit any of the planets in our solar system.
The video above follows a trail of plasma hotter than 143,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is actually quite cool for the sun. The sun’s outer layer, called the corona, is typically between 900,000 and 10 million degrees Fahrenheit and can reach tens of millions of degrees during a flare.
The sun is currently entering a time of renewed activity, following a quiet period in its 11-year solar cycle. Peak action is expected from early- to mid-2013. Though it is predicted to be one of the least active cycles in the last 100 years, we have already witnessed several massive flares this year.
The current flare suggests that an active region is rotating on the Earth-facing side of the sun, which may produce further explosions.
The image below shows the beautiful blast in extreme ultraviolet light.
Story from Wired Science