This is an image of magnetic loops on the sun, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). It has been processed to highlight the edges of each loop to make the structure more clear.
A series of loops such as this is known as a flux rope, and these lie at the heart of eruptions on the sun known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs.) This is the first time scientists were able to discern the timing of a flux rope’s formation. (Blended 131 Angstrom and 171 Angstrom images of July 19, 2012 flare and CME.)
Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO