NASA’s has captured a huge explosion on the side of the sun in extraordinary detail on video.
Solar material erupted off the sun at speeds of 1.5 million miles per hour, in what’s called a coronal mass ejection, on May 9.
NASA said the field of view of this footage is about five earths wide and about seven-and-a-half earths tall.
The space agency’s newest solar observatory, Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, captured the massive explosion by using some clever guess work and a little bit of luck, Bart De Pontieu, IRIS science lead at Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California said.
“We focus in on active regions to try to see a flare or a CME,” De Pontieu said. “And then we wait and hope that we’ll catch something. This is the first clear CME for IRIS so the team is very excited.”
During the film a line moves across the screen, this is a spectrograph, an instrument IRIS uses to split light into many wavelengths, allowing scientists to measure temperature, velocity and density of the solar material.
Here’s NASA’s footage.