You Have Never Seen the Sun So Close

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Our friends at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have sent us this spectacular 16:9 panoramic high definition close-up of a recent gigantastic solar prominence. What you are seeing here occurred during 90 minutes on February 24, 2011.

When a rather large-sized (M 3.6 class) flare occurred near the edge of the Sun, it blew out a gorgeous, waving mass of erupting plasma that swirled and twisted over a 90-minute period. This event was captured in extreme ultraviolet light by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. Some of the material blew out into space and other portions fell back to the surface. Because SDO images are super-HD, we can zoom in on the action and still see exquisite details. And using a cadence of a frame taken every 24 seconds, the sense of motion is, by all appearances, seamless.

It's hard to believe that this terrifying nuclear hell powers all life on Earth. [NASA Goddard's Flickr]