Space enthusiast and photo processing hobbyist Jason Major created this edit of a NASA photo showing a ginormous coronal mass ejection back on June 7th, 2011. See that little blue circle in the upper-left-hand corner? That’s the Earth for scale.
Here’s a video of the same coronal mass ejection:
Coronal mass ejections are like solar flares on a massive scale — while solar flares are seen as little eruptions on the Sun’s surface, coronal mass ejections can be bigger than the Sun itself. They’re caused when solar plasma caught in a loop in the Sun’s magnetic field violently breaks out of the loop and blasts into space.
For the image above, Major took a photo captured by NASA’s SDO spacecraft, rotated the view, and inserted the Earth to show just how large the prominence was.
Image credits: Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams. Edited by J. Major and licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0