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Video Shows Plasma Rain on the Surface of the Sun

| 22 Feb 2013 15:51

In 2012, NASA captured beautiful video of a solar perfect storm.

In July 2012, a medium-strength solar flare erupted out of the sun's lower right side. Immediately afterwards, there was a Coronal Mass Ejection - where the sun spits out some of its matter into space in a plume. Finally, and most spectacularly, there was a magnetic event called coronal rain. In coronal rain, hot plasma that has been ejected is drawn back towards the surface of the sun along magnetic fields, which exert enough force to draw along very particular paths. As the plasma is pulled it condenses into rain-like bolts at around 50,000 Kelvin (89,540 Fahrenheit or 49,726 Celsius). It's not only beautiful, but scientists are able to use the path of the plasma to trace out the sun's magnetic fields.

The footage was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory's AIA Instrument, which collected one frame every 12 seconds. Each second in the video is about six minutes of real time.

Source: NASA

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