Snakes across the sun: Powerful NASA camera captures dramatic solar flare – This dramatic image shows what looks like a huge burning snake, slithering across the surface of the sun. The solar flare eruption, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, stretches hundreds of thousands of miles across the south side of our star.
Sun’s slithering snake: A massive solar flare captured on camera by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory
Known as a ‘solar filament‘, the burning band reaches over 435,000 miles long – nearly twice the distance from earth to the moon. Solar filaments are dense gases, hanging over the sun’s surface, that rise from the star’s super-hot outer atmosphere, known as the corona, and are long threads of plasma that burst out from time to time.
The ‘snake‘ appears darker against the sun because it is much cooler than the corona and can have effects here on earth. In August this year there was an amazing display of the northern lights when a flare and magnetic filament emitted electrically charged particles.
According to scientists this new filament has the potential to lash out to form a solar storm or it could slink back into the sun.