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Sun spits out 'solar whip' half a million miles long

NASA Solar Whip.jpg

A very long, whip-like solar filament extends over half a million miles in a long arc above the suns surface. (NASA/SDO)

Looking more science fiction than just straight science, an amazing tentacle-like eruption on the face of the sun has been captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

Measuring half a million miles long and visible over two days in August, this "solar whip" could wrap around our humble planet roughly twenty times. But the chances of this tentacle-like wonder being attached to some kind of malicious molten-based alien is extremely unlikely, according to NASA.

"Filaments are simply cooler clouds of solar material that are tethered above the sun’s surface by unstable magnetic forces," NASA said in a statement.

The video was shot from August 6 to 8, and shows the filament as a darker strand that has been in view for several days.

Towards the end of the video part of the filament seems to break away, but its basic length and shape seem to have remained mostly intact.

Estimates from NOAA spaceweather prediction center suggests that a cloud of radiation from the solar whip will reach Earth. The effects will be a minor to moderate geomagnetic storm, which will bring the northern lights to parts of North America -- but more important, no alien invasion.

Read more science and technology news at News.com.au.

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