Last week, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory showed us the first clips of the Sun's burning storms. This week, it shows us billions of tons of plasma leaping from the Sun's surface and splashing down hours (and unfathomable kilometers) later.
This time-lapse video of the Sun filmed on April 19 - which covers four hours of time and 100,000+ kilometers - details a magnetic filament erupting. According to Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab, this footage explains why coronal rain falls much slower than astronomers anticipated. Thanks to ultraviolet telescopes known as the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), astronomers can detect the temperature of gases in the Sun's atmosphere:
"We can see a billion tons of magnetized plasma blasting into space while debris from the explosion falls back onto the sun surface. [...] The sun's gravity should be pulling the material down much faster than it actually moves. What's slowing the descent?" [...] "The rain appears to be buoyed by a 'cushion' of hot gas," [...] "Previous observatories couldn't see it, but it is there."
In this next video, red and oranges represent 60,000 K - 80,000 K; blues and greens are 1,000,000 - 2,200,000 K; and the black line is piece of dust on the camera.
And here is a zoomed-out video of this awe-inspiring solar phenomenon.