Guided by the sun’s magnetic field, ropes of plasma escape from the star only to be dragged back or twisted around into whorls of light.
Scientists predict 2013 will see a peak in solar activity, and Earthlings got a preview this past weekend when the sun released a mass of plasma and charged particles on April 11. (Related: "Solar Storm Heading Toward Earth.")
The coronal mass ejection hit Earth’s atmosphere on April 13, but only resulted in some faint auroras. (See pictures of the best auroras of February and March.)
Source: National Geographic