This picture shows a massive solar filament that’s made of burning gas. Astrophotographer Göran Strand took this yesterday with his solar telescope, and added in the scale of the distance between Earth and the moon to give you an idea of how goddamn enormous this thing was.
Strand tells Gizmodo:
Here’s a photo I took of the Sun today showing one huge filament stretching over the surface of the Sun. I’ve included a scale sized Earth and Moon and the distance between them and as you can see, the filament is just about the same length as the distance from Earth to the Moon. Otherwise the Sun was quite calm but this filament was very impressive through my solar telescope.
A solar filament is an eruption of gas from the sun’s surface. It often looks like a loop, with the gas erupting upward and then arcing back down. But in this image we’re seeing a filament that looks like a mountain range bursting out of the roiling surface of our local star.