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
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.