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February 22, 2013

NASA Video Shows Stunning Coronal Rainstorm on Sun

by VOA News

NASA has released stunning video of plasma rain falling on the sun. The event took place July 19, according to NASA, and consisted of three stages.

First there was a solar flare, followed by a coronal mass ejection, which is a huge release of matter and radiation in the form of plasma, a collection of charged particles reacting to an electromagnetic field. In this particular event, the plasma released in the ejection cooled, condensed and formed along magnetic fields lines, resulting in a spectacular coronal rain of plasma falling back to the Sun’s surface.

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.

The footage in this video was collected by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory's (SDO) Atmospheric Imaging Assembly 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 six minutes of real time.