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Red Hot Solar Ballet
10.04.12
 
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this minor eruption on the sun over a 2.5 hour time period on Oct 4, 2012. The movie was made using an image every 15 seconds, played back at 15 frames per second. Credit: NASA/SDO/S. Hill
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This minor eruption from Oct 4, 2012 rises and falls with the grace and polished movement of a ballet dancer. The close-up video at just about full resolution captures the event in extreme ultraviolet light at a wavelength of 304 Angstroms. Scientists use this wavelength to observe material in a low layer of the sun's atmosphere called the chromosphere. Most of the solar material in this eruption did not have enough momentum to break away into space and is pulled down again into the Sun.

 
 
Karen C. Fox
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center