For the last few days astronomers have monitored a large filament of magnetism that stretches across the face of the sun.
On the morning of April 28th it erupted.
This video, taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, recorded the explosion.
Hurled upward by magnetic instabilities, the erupting filament split the sun’s atmosphere, creating a “canyon of fire.” The glowing walls of the canyon trace the original channel where the filament was suspended by magnetic forces above the sun’s surface. From end to end, the structure stretches more than 350,000 km–a real Grand Canyon:
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is also emerging from the blast site: SOHO image. At first glance, the CME appears to be moving well away from the sun-Earth line. However, coronagraph data are too preliminary to rule out a glancing blow to our planet in the days ahead. Stay tuned for updates.