Bad Astronomy

Arc of dissent

As long as I’m mea culping… yesterday, I posted a fantastic picture of the Sun showing an enormous arc of material, called a prominence, looping off the Sun. In the post, I mentioned that most of these collapse. But this time, I was wrong: it turns out this one did indeed burst away from the Sun. And you can see it in this animation created from SDO images:

WOW. As you can see, the explosion happened away from us, so it doesn’t look like we’ll be affected by it at all… except, that is, by its utter beauty and mind-crushing size. Remember as you watch that: the Sun is 1.4 million kilometers (860,000 miles) across. When it does something, it does it BIG.

Credit: NASA/SDO