The incredible time-lapse video was released by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which churned above the Sun for 40 hours. The footage, taken from September 1 to September 3 in 2015, and shows a huge plume of plasma raging on the Sun’s surface. In a description of the video, NASA’s SDO explained: “A small, but complex mass of plasma gyrated and spun about over the course of 40 hours above the surface of the Sun (Sept. 1-3, 2015).
“It was stretched and pulled back and forth by powerful magnetic forces but not ripped apart in this sequence.
“The temperature of the ionized iron particles observed in this extreme ultraviolet wavelength of light was about 2.8 million degrees C. (or 5 million degrees F.)”
Space tornadoes are formed by plasma interacting with magnetic fields and are more powerful than tornadoes on Earth, which are formed in the atmosphere by thunderstorms.
In a further explanation of plasma space tornadoes, NASA states on its website: “Interplanetary space is hardly tranquil. High-energy charged particles from the Sun, as well as from beyond our solar system, constantly whizz by.
“These can damage satellites and endanger astronaut health — though, luckily for life on Earth, the planet is blanketed by a protective magnetic bubble created by its magnetic field.
“This bubble, called the magnetosphere, deflects most of the harmful high-energy particles.
Nevertheless, some sneak through — and at the forefront of figuring out just how this happens is NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, or MMS.
“New results show that tornado-like swirls of space plasma create a boundary tumultuous enough to let particles slip into near Earth space.”
NASA said: “It will not grow by much more than another factor of a few for the next six billion years, but at that distant time, it will make a rapid transition to a red giant phase and its outer surface will expand by several hundred times to perhaps the orbit of Venus.
“Astronomers have searched for short term changes in the radius of the Sun, but have not been able to find much reliable evidence that the sun’s diameter is changing, at least over times as short as the solar cycle.”
Just like every other star in the universe, the Sun will eventually run out of fuel to burn and die.
As the star approaches its final days, it will start to swell into a Red Giant and consume Mercury, Venus and maybe even Earth.
After that, the Sun will shrink down to an incredibly hot and dense core known as a White Dwarf. However, NASA does not expect this to happen for another six to six-and-a-half billion years.