The video below needs a little context to fully understand it. The Sun is constantly in flux. It’s always moving and exploding and flaring.
Last year the sun erupted in a particularly large way, producing an impressive light show. The video shows the results of that explosion. So take a look for yourself:
Here’s NASA’s explanation:
On July 19, 2012, an eruption occurred on the sun that produced three solar flares. A moderately powerful solar flare exploded on the sun’s lower right hand limb, sending out light and radiation. And then, the sun treated viewers to one of its dazzling magnetic displays – a phenomenon known as coronal rain.
Over the course of the next day, hot plasma in the corona cooled and condensed along strong magnetic fields in the region. Magnetic fields, themselves, are invisible, but the charged plasma is forced to move along the lines, showing up brightly in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 304 Angstroms, which highlights material at a temperature of about 50,000 Kelvin. This plasma acts as a tracer, helping scientists watch the dance of magnetic fields on the sun, outlining the fields as it slowly falls back to the solar surface.
The footage in this video was collected by the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s AIA instrument. SDO collected one frame every 12 seconds, and the movie plays at 30 frames per second, so each second in this video corresponds to 6 minutes of real time. The video covers 12:30 a.m. EDT to 10:00 p.m. EDT on July 19, 2012.
Basically the sun let out an epically huge flare that resulted in an awesome storm that is staggering to behold. But just how big was it? The storm itself was hundreds of times bigger than Earth. Here’s an image of the Earth in comparison. Don’t forget that more than 1 million Earths could fit into the sun.