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NASA captures piece of sun breaking off, baffles scientists


NASA captures piece of sun breaking off

NASA captured the moment a piece of the sun’s northern pole broke off, a previously unseen phenomenon that has astronomers baffled.

A video shows a large filament of plasma, or electrified gas, erupting from the sun, trying to split, and then orbiting in a “vast polar vortex.”

While scientists are puzzled, they presume the position is linked to the sun’s magnetic field reversal, which happens once every solar cycle.

Tamitha Skov, a space weather forecaster, tweeted the video, which was recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

“We’re talking about the polar vortex!” “Material from a northern prominence has just broken away from the main filament and is now making the rounds in a massive polar vortex around our star’s north pole,” Skov tweeted.

During the 11-year solar cycle, unusual activity usually occurs near the sun’s 55-degree latitudes, but this episode has scientists baffled.


A prominence is a visible feature that extends from the surface of the sun. Previous instances of filament tear-aways have been observed, but not on this scale.

Researchers aren’t sure what caused such a rare event, according to Scott McIntosh, deputy director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

“It forms at 55 degrees latitude once every solar cycle and begins to march up to the solar poles,” McIntosh explained. “It’s very strange. It raises a lot of ‘why’ questions. Why does it only move towards the pole once before disappearing and reappearing three or four years later in the same region?”

While experts agree that it is most likely due to the sun’s magnetic field, the rest is unknown due to humanity’s limited view of its star. Only from the “ecliptic plane,” or the geometric plane that contains Earth’s orbit, can scientists see the sun.