NASA captures rare footage of solar flare erupting from sun

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Amazing NASA Video Shows Sun Erupting

This is rare footage of a solar flare erupting from the sun. NASA captured the high definition images with its new observation satellite, called IRIS.
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The eruption, also known as a coronal mass ejection, is happening at 1.5 million miles per hour and the field of view seen here stretches 5 Earths wide and about seven and a half Earths tall.

The satellite was launched last year to observe the lowest levels of the sun's atmosphere with the best resolution the organization has ever seen. Not too shabby.

It caught the eruption on May 9th and it wasn't easy.



To capture the phenomenon, NASA had to point IRIS at the sun a day ahead of time because catching the explosion involves a lot of guessing.

An IRIS specialist explains, "We focus in on active regions to try to see a flare or a CME. And then we wait and hope that we will catch something."

Basically, rocket science...

More incredible shots of solar flares:
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Solar flare images from years gone by
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NASA captures rare footage of solar flare erupting from sun
IN SPACE - MARCH 6: In this handout from NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a X5.4 solar flare, the largest in five years, erupts from the sun's surface March 6, 2012. According to reports, particles from the flare are suppose to reach earth early March 7, possibly disrupting technology such as GPS system, satellite networks and airline flights. (Photo by NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) via Getty Images)
IN SPACE - FEBRUARY 15: In a screen grab taken from a handout timelapse sequence provided by NASA / SDO, a solar spot in the centre of the Sun is captured from which the first X-class flare was emitted in four years on February 14, 2011. The images taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft reveal the source of the strongest flare to have been released in four years by the Sun, leading to warnings that a resulting geo-magnetic storm may cause disruption to communications and electrical supplies once it reaches the earths magnetic field. (Image by NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via Getty Images)
IN SPACE - JUNE 7: In this handout from NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory, a solar large flare erupts off the sun June 7, 2011 in space. A large cloud of particles flew up and then was pulled back down to the sun's surface. According to NASA, the event is not suppose have any effect once the particles reach the earth on either June 8 or June 9. (Photo by NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via Getty Images)
SPACE - JULY 04: This image, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows the M5.3 class solar flare that peaked at 5:55 AM EDT on July 04, 2012. The flare is shown in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength that is particularly good for capturing the radiation emitted from flares. The wavelength is typically colorized in teal as shown here. PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA / Barcroft Media /Barcoft Media via Getty Images
IN SPACE - NOVEMBER 18: In this handout photo provided by NASA, an MDI image shows giant sunspots 486 and 488, which caused intense space weather last month, and have been hiding on the far side November 18, 2003 on the sun. Sunpsot 488 is already visible and appears large. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
1974: A solar flare on the surface of the sun, caused by the sudden release of energy from the magnetic field. Original Artwork: Photograph taken from the Skylab space station. (Photo by E. Gibson/MPI/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 15: Skylab, America's first space station launched on 14th May 1973, carried many scientific experiments. The biggest was the Apollo Telescope Mount which contained eight instruments to study the sun at various wavelengths, including the extreme ultaviolet. Because the Earth�s atmosphere intercepts much of the ultraviolet radiation, it was not possible to observe the Sun at these wavelengths until telescopes could be deployed in space. The Sun�s emissions of extreme ultraviolet radiation increase during the solar maximum, the period of increased sunspot and solar flare activity which occurs roughly every 11 years. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1754: One of the most spectacular solar flares (upper left) ever recorded spanning more than 588,000 km across the solar surface. NASA photograph. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
This extreme ultraviolet wavelength image provided by NASA shows a solar flare. An impressive solar flare is heading toward Earth and could disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights. An impressive solar flare is heading toward Earth and could disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center said the sun erupted Tuesday evening and the effects should start smacking Earth late Wednesday night, close to midnight EST. They say it is the biggest in five years and growing. (AP Photo/NASA)
This TV image provided by NASA Wednesday March 29, 2006 shows two solar flares seen at the top of the disk during the total solar eclipse captured in Turkey's Mediterranean town of Side. The last such eclipse in November 2003 was best viewed from Antarctica, said Alex Young, a NASA scientist involved in solar research. Total eclipses are rare because they require the tilted orbits of the sun, moon and earth to line up exactly so that the moon obscures the sun completely. The next total eclipse will occur in 2008. (AP Photo/NASA)
A powerful solar flare that erupted Wednesday afternoon Oct.29, 2003, at 3:48 pm EST, is seen with the Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope aboard NASA's SOHO satellite.The telescope is sensitive to extreme ultraviolet light, resulting in the green hue. The event was the second in as many days.(AP Photo /NASA )
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