NASA releases video of spectacular solar eruption

7 Jan 2013

A dramatic solar flare 20 times the diameter of Earth erupted from the sun on New Year’s Eve and a video by US space agency NASA captured the event.

Magnetic forces drove the flow of plasma, but without sufficient force to overcome the sun’s gravity, much of the plasma fell back into the sun, NASA said.

The length of the eruption extends about 257,495 kilometres (160,000 miles) out from the sun, NASA added. With Earth about 12,714 kilometres (7,900 miles) in diameter, what NASA deemed a “relatively minor eruption” is about 20 times the diameter of the planet (see image).

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the solar eruption that took place from 3.20-7.20pm GMT in extreme ultraviolet light shown at a high cadence of an image every 36 seconds.

Watch the SDO Sees Solar Ballet video here:


Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic