In the above video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, we catch our sun mid-flare. It's a the frequently occurring phenomenon in which dark spots of high magnetic energy explode away from the star and send plumes of radiation into the cosmos.


Particularly strong solar flares can interact with our planet's own magnetic field, sending our radio and electrical signals haywire and causing blackouts. Aggressive solar activity can also pose risks of increased radiation exposure to astronauts in space at the time. But although these solar storms can shoot plumes thousands of miles from the sun's surface, they aren't usually a cause for human concern.


The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission in  NASA's delightfully named Living With a Star program. This and other missions in the program will help us understand how our sun affects the space around it, and our own lives on Earth.