NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory keeps watch on the sun constantly. What it found recently is incredible. A filament appeared on the sun a few days ago and stretches for 1 million miles. It’s hard to even imagine 1 million miles. NASA tries to help and compares the filament to 100 times the size of Earth.

You can see the filament below as a dark line snaking across the upper right portion of the sun. Filaments are fascinating because they aren’t actually on the sun. They hover just above it and are suspended by the sun’s powerful magnetic forces.

solar filament wavelengths

These same magnetic forces make filaments incredibly unstable, but they can last for days and in some cases weeks.

The image above was captured in different wavelengths. Here’s NASA’s Steele Hill explaining the different wavelengths used to capture the images.

The brownish combination image was produced by blending two wavelengths of extreme UV light with a wavelength of 193 and 335 Angstroms. The red image shows the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme UV light.

The sun’s been busy this month. Check out the M-Class Flare from last week in the video below.

Interested in learning more about NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory? Keep up with its mission here.

Image credit: NASA/SDO

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