A round solar filament that had just rotated into view burst out from the sun over a three-hour period on March 13, 2016 in a dramatic display. As you can see in the video, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), much of the plasma did not have enough oomph behind it to escape the gravitational pull of the sun.
Filaments are clouds of gas suspended above the sun by magnetic forces. They are notoriously unstable and often break apart after a few days. The video clip was made from images taken every 12 seconds, the fastest cadence in the world for solar observations from space.
Bottom line: Video of a circular solar outburst on March 13, 2016 by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.