The 5 steps of a solar eruption

A new theory may explain all the Sun’s eruptions, large and small.

The surface of the Sun is always active, and eruptions of plasma happen all the time. They come in many different shapes and sizes, from long, thin jets to massive clouds called coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

Scientists do not fully understand how and why they occur, but a new theory suggests that large and small eruptions may both have a common cause.

The culprit? As the video above explains, it’s magnetic reconnection: a 5-step process that occurs when the magnetic field that holds the plasma in check is stretched past its breaking point, and must snap itself into a new configuration.

Read more at NASA.

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