Solar Dynamics Observatory, a NASA satellite, captured amazing pictures of a gigantic tornado moving across the sun.
The tornado is larger than it might look – in fact, it is probably bigger than the Earth, and could extend hundreds of thousands of miles out into space.
And while its progress over the sun’s surface seems almost stately, it is moving at 300,000 miles per hour.
The extraordinary phenomenon – which cannot yet be fully explained by scientists – was filmed by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) over a 30-hour period earlier this month.
That satellite, known as the SDO, is in the middle of a five-year mission to monitor how solar activity affects the Earth, particularly changes in the sun’s magnetic field.
While the tornado – called a “solar prominence” by scientists – looks very similar to twisters here on Earth, its origins are completely different.
Rather than being the result of atmospheric pressure, the solar activity comes from fluctuations in the sun’s magnetism.
However, researchers cannot explain much more than that – NASA’s Terry Kucera told Fox News that she and her colleagues were “still looking to understand what’s happening with these things”.
The tornado, at 15,000 degrees Fahrenheit (8,000 C), is much cooler than its surroundings, which are around 2 million degrees.
The phenomenon was not caught on camera until 1996.