Crazy Video From NASA of a Filament Eruption on the Sun

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An outburst on the sun on Friday caused some beautiful sights here on Earth last night.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captures this video of a filament eruption on the sun last Friday at 4:36 in the afternoon EDT. The segment of the video in 304 angstroms wavelength, during which the sun appears red, covers a period of time lasting three hours.

The explosion sent a wave of solar plasma, known as a coronal mass ejection, toward the Earth at a speed of 900 miles per second, resulting in a beautiful aurora over parts of the Northern Hemisphere last night, as shown in the picture below, from Whitehorse, Yukon, in Canada:

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NASA additionally provided a side-by-side comparison of four images of the filament explosion in different wavelengths (335, 171, 304 and 131 angstroms, starting in the upper-left hand corner and moving clockwise). Each wavelength corresponds with different temperatures in the solar material, giving scientists an understanding of how the explosion's dynamics.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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