Huge Coronal Mass Ejection on June 7, 2011
Here's a rotated view (east is up) of a huge prominence which resulted in a CME during the early morning hours of June 7, 2011 as seen by NASA's SDO spacecraft. Earth to scale is shown at the top left corner.
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is the result of solar plasma caught within a loop of magnetic field from the Sun (i.e., a prominence) being blasted into space when the loop breaks. Some of the material falls back into the Sun but some is also sent out into the solar system.
It appears liquid but it is all ionized gas and charged particles controlled by magnetic fields and, of course, the Sun's powerful gravitational pull.
Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams. Edited by J. Major.
Watch a video of this at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UnPYE7dvzg