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NASA video shows sun's plasma rain

February 22, 2013|By Joseph Serna
  • The bottom two black spots on the sun, known as sunspots, appeared quickly over the course of Feb. 19-20. These two sunspots are part of the same system and are over six Earths across. The photo is one of several recent solar events NASA revealed this week.
The bottom two black spots on the sun, known as sunspots, appeared quickly… (NASA )

And you thought acid rain was bad?

As it turns out, it literally rains fire on the sun.

In a video released this week, NASA highlighted yet another beautiful, hellish phenomenon of our nearest star, coronal rain.

Thanks to the sun's magma twisting and braiding and swirling the star's countless magnetic fields every which way, occasionally things get a little messy. Such as on July 19, when a moderately powerful solar flare burst hot plasma out from the surface.

As the material cooled and condensed, it traced along the magnetic fields arcing back to the sun's surface, creating a glowing, reddish-yellow arch of searing plasma raining back onto the sun. The size of these arcs of death rain is highlighted at 1:06 into the movie when Earth is shown next to them in scale.

In other solar activity, NASA released photos of a pair of fast-developing sunspots on the star's surface. Click on the link to check them out.

Return to Science Now blog.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

twitter.com/@josephserna

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