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    VIDEO: Giant Solar 'Tornado' Whirls Off the Sun

    By By Mike Wall, Senior Writer
    May 06, 2014, 9:40:02 AM EDT

    A NASA spacecraft has captured spectacular video of an enormous plasma "tornado" spinning off the sun.

    NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory probe, or SDO, watched the dark-hued twister churn and ultimately erupt over the course of one day, from April 29 to 30. Mission scientists used the spacecraft's imagery to create an 18-second-long video of the dramatic solar tornado.

    "The suspended plasma is being pulled and stretched by competing magnetic forces until something triggers the breakaway," NASA officials wrote on SDO's Facebook page, assuming the voice of the spacecraft. "This kind of activity is fairly common on the sun, but we have only been able to view them at this level of detail since I began operations just four years ago."


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