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NASA captures rare activity on sun's surface

NASA Captures Plasma Explosion Off Sun's Surface

This isn't the opening shot of a new "Star Trek" film.

You're looking at the surface of the sun. And that's an explosion. Nothing life-threatening, of course. But take another look.

The mass of plasma hovering and twisting over the course of a day until it erupts into space.

NASA explains, "The suspended plasma is being pulled and stretched by competing magnetic forces until something triggers the breakaway."

Note, NASA says this twisted plasma isn't a solar flare.

A NASA spokeswoman tells USA Today it's "material on the sun, doing what it always does, dancing and twisting -- and in this case erupting off the side of the sun."

That is to say, this scene is pretty common. But it wasn't until four years ago -- when the Solar Dynamics Observatory began operations -- that we were able to get this front-row seat.

You might remember last month when we saw a similar "graceful eruption." However, that was labeled as a solar flare.

After that video was released, the Los Angeles Times noted: "While the imagery in the video can be beautiful, such information from [SDO] also helps scientists to understand the movements on the sun's surface that lead to these dramatic, sometimes violent outbursts."

Let's just hope whatever might flare up next month looks just as cool but remains non-violent.

Join the discussion

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Fred & Linda May 07 2014 at 11:49 PM

Solar flares and violent eruptions aimed towards earth can disrupt many things like radio waves, television, electical grids just to name a few. They can be dangerous.

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1 reply
chiefsforpres Fred & Linda May 08 2014 at 7:23 AM

How does our host star aim? Does it have rifle scope with a range of 93 millions miles or so? I never knew that it made decisions or could control itself. Where did you find all this research? Our host star could hurl the flares away from us but instead chooses to aim them at earth. Wow. What scum bags he must see us as to act in such a way towards us. Maybe if we feed it some virgin sacrifices it will treat us better. Any research on that aspect yet? Just looking for answers. I mean if the is a way to get on its good side I think anyway we should find it.

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r442w30 May 07 2014 at 9:12 PM

if it wasn't for the the sun maybe we wouldn't have this global warming thing happening. I think we should tow an iceberg out to space and extinguish the fire dance

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1 reply
orion15stars r442w30 May 07 2014 at 10:45 PM

You definitely don't comprehend the complexity of human made global warming, and the sun isn't he culprit. Without the sun, there would be no life on planet Earth. Thermodynamic energy being necessary to life along H20.

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1 reply
Bill orion15stars May 07 2014 at 11:23 PM

So you wanna blame humans for the changes in Jupiters storms, the 6 min slow down of Venuses orbital rotation, the melting of the polar caps on Mars. Yes lets blame it all on humans, all this global warming must be affecting all the planets so it has to be us humans that are at fault!! Maybe it would be good to pay attention to our Solar System as a whole because we are not the only ones experiencing changes.

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$300,000 in 2006 May 08 2014 at 8:29 AM

That sun better do as we expect or were toast.

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curly21t May 08 2014 at 8:16 AM

Yet another" factual" reason why the climate on earth has variations.

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1 reply
nam2205 curly21t May 08 2014 at 9:46 AM


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Jerry May 08 2014 at 6:55 AM

If this interests you and you want to see more watch the daily planetary update at the Suspicious 0bservers Youtube site.....very easy to find and extremely well done.....look forward to seeing you there! Have a great day....eyes open, no fear.

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James M. Adams May 08 2014 at 6:28 AM

Can't we sue the sun? Or fine it maybe? It has to be the reason we are getting hotter, and why the oceans are rising at the rate of 0.000103 centimeters per decade.

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1 reply
Franco James M. Adams May 08 2014 at 7:28 AM

What is getting hotter is the neck under me collar cus of thems tree huggas. :O(

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Robert F. Nance May 08 2014 at 12:02 AM

See what global warming has caused? We are doomed.

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Michael May 08 2014 at 3:26 AM

The sun does effect global warming. Before all the Ice melted in the Poles the sun reflected off the white ice, and now that the ice is gone, it absorbs into the water heating it up. This is called Albedo.

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3 replies
harbick May 08 2014 at 12:21 AM

Why is this not brought up with the warming of the earth follow the money

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2 replies
Karen harbick May 08 2014 at 1:10 AM

"material from the sun, doing what it always does." Solar flares are nothing new, some years are more numerous than others, that's all. The sun has been around for a long time and has nothing to do with climate change except when volcanoes or meteor strikes make enough dust or ash to block sun rays for some months.

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2 replies
Jerry Karen May 08 2014 at 7:05 AM

Partly right, partly wrong. The sun has a definate 11 year cycle. These 11 year cycles also have cycles. We just finished a fairly long cycle of strong solar activity and have entered what most solar scientists are describing as a Grand Mnimum......much scarier than global warming. It all has to do with the sun's magnetic field called the heliosphere. Learn more at SuspiciousObservers.org. Watch the daily planetary update at the Suspicious 0bservers YouTube channel. Very interesting.

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coffeetime9 Karen May 08 2014 at 8:14 AM

With the ozone layer having a hole in it, the sun's rays are getting through more that before. That is global warming

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cherofnc harbick May 08 2014 at 8:05 AM

Right. The "experts" and "scientists" who are schmoozing for government grants see no $$$ in exposing the sun as being the warming culprit of the earth. Sign on the dotted line saying there is man made global warming....i mean, climate change and heeeere's your million dollar cheque.

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nefsigh May 08 2014 at 12:22 AM

pardon my typing. new keyboard is smaller than old and thus my two fingers keep goofing up.

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