Solar eruption on NYE [NASA Image of the day]
While it was New Year's Eve on Earth, the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this solar eruption, a truly gigantic and magnificent kind of firework. The flare shot about 260,000 kilometers out from the Sun. While it was a rather small eruption, it corresponds to 20 times the size of Earth with its diameter of 12,700 kilometers. Larger image
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The hot plasma is driven by the volatile, changing magnetic forces within the fusion-powered core of the star. The sun's gravity pulls most of the plasma back in, with some of it adding to the solar winds. This four-hour event occurred on Dec 31, 2012 from 10:20 am to 2:20 pm EST and was captured in extreme ultraviolet light shown here at a high cadence of an image every 36 seconds.