Astronomy Picture of the Week – Solar Eruption

This is a fairly old picture of the Sun since it has been taken on September 14, 1997 by the space-based SOHO observatory. It represents a massive solar eruption. Such a phenomenon occurs when magnetic fields arching from the solar surface twist and trap ionized gas, suspending it in huge looping structures, often expelling it into space. Occasionally that huge amount of solar plasma is ejected in the direction of Earth. Fortunately we are protected by the Earth’s magnetic field, but if the eruption is large enough it can cause some electronic disturbances.

Solar eruption

Image Credit: SOHO-EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA.