May 06, 2015 04:02 PM EDT
A new video has been released by NASA that shows our very own Sun sending out a giant solar filament, extending its visible hemisphere by close to half. The incident occurred last week and demonstrates the raw power and influence the Sun has on Earth and the rest of the solar system.
A solar filament is a strand of plasma, or a cloud of gas that is spewed out from the Sun as a result of strong magnetic fields. Sometimes, these magnetic fields can be so strong that the filaments are launched into space, just like what NASA recently documented.
The filament eruption took place from April 28 through April 29, although NASA didn't release pictures or videos of the event until this week. The observations were made thanks to the Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph instrument aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency.
While the still image above is pretty impressive, the real show comes from watching the video of the filament shooting out from the sun like from the mouth of a dragon. You can check out the video of the solar filament below:
"Solar astronomers around the world had their eyes on this unusually large filament and kept track as it erupted," NASA said in a statement.
The Sun is a yellow dwarf star that is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old. At 1,392,684 km in diameter, the Sun is almost a perfect sphere with a circumference at the equator of 4,370,005.6 km, making it the largest body in our solar system. With surface temperatures measuring somewhere in the neighborhood of 5500 degrees Celsius, the Sun provides enough heat and energy to allow life to flourish here on Earth.
While currently the giver of life, one day the Sun will actually consume the Earth. Currently, scientists believe the Sun is middle aged and has enough hydrogen to continue to provide life giving rays for another 5 billion years. However, one day that hydrogen will be depleted. When that happens, it will begin to burn its supply of helium and grow to become a red giant. When this happens, Mercury, Venus and the Earth will all be consumed by the Sun ending life as we know it.
Of course that means we still have plenty of time to enjoy the Earth as we know it and learn more about the great ball in the sky that brings life to the planet, and these latest filaments only demonstrate the power of the Sun while providing scientists with more insight into the life giving center or our Solar System.
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