A Nasa spacecraft has captured video of a massive eruption of super-hot plasma that erupted from the sun on Friday night (NZT).
The event was one of two so-called prominence eruptions which happened four hours apart.
The video was taken by Nasa's solar dynamics observatory, which was launched in February 2010 to study the sun and its dynamic behaviour.
The red-glowing looped material seen in the video is plasma, a hot gas made of electrically charged hydrogen and helium, Nasa said.
The prominence plasma flowed along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun's internal dynamo.
A prominence erupted when such a structure became unstable and burst outward, releasing the plasma.
The expanding particle clouds heading into space from the eruption did not appear to be directed toward Earth.
- © Fairfax NZ News