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NASA satellite spots twisters on the Sun

By Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer
Monday, May 5, 2014, 2:52 PM

The Sun is often seen static and unchanging from here on the surface of Earth, but the satellites we have in space to monitor the star at the centre of our solar system show us a very different view indeed.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the above view of the Sun on April 29-30, revealing several dark 'twisters' swirling across the surface of the sun, and the video below shows these plasma tornadoes in action:

According to the SDO YouTube channel

"A small, hovering mass of twisted strands of plasma shifted back and forth before erupting into space (Apr. 29-30, 2014) over a period of just one day. The plasma appears darker only because it is somewhat cooler than the surrounding material when viewed in extreme ultraviolet light. The suspended plasma is being pulled and stretched by competing magnetic forces until something triggers the breakaway. This kind of activity is fairly common on the Sun, but we have only been able to view them at this level of detail since SDO began operations just four years ago."

You can always see more views from SDO's unblinking eye on the Sun on NASA's website (click here).

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