On this Earth Day, NASA’s focused on the sun. It just released the first images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched in February to study our star in breathtaking detail at a rate of 60 images per minute. The new pictures include the evolution of this loop. Known as a prominence eruption, the loop was born from a relatively cold cloud of plasma, or charged gas, tenuously tethered to the sun’s surface by magnetic forces. Such clouds can erupt dramatically when they break free of the sun’s unstable hold [National Geographic].
Scroll through the gallery for a few more blazing wonders.