Crap, maybe the Mayans were right, just a bit off with the timing...
A New Year's Eve sun eruption lasted four hours and blasted a wave of super-hot plasma into space equal in size to 20 Earths. NASA captured the whole thing on video via their Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a spacecraft launched in 2010 to monitor the sun's activity.
But before you go on to say things like, "Crap, maybe the Mayans were right, just a bit off with the timing...," NASA experts are kind of making this thing whole solar eruption out to be not such a big deal.
NASA is calling the it a "solar ballet," and attests that it wasn't the most powerful storm blast in the sun's history.
"Magnetic forces drove the flow of plasma, but without sufficient force to overcome the sun's gravity much of the plasma fell back into the sun," NASA stated. "The length of the eruption extends about 160,000 miles [257,495 kilometers] out from the sun. With Earth about 7,900 miles [12,714 km] in diameter, this relatively minor eruption is about 20 times the diameter of our planet."
These type of eruptions, if blown in the direction of Earth, can pose problems like satellite interference, and serious risks for astronauts.
According to Space.com, "The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar activity cycle and is expected to reach its peak level later this year. However, NASA scientists have said that the peak of the current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, may be the lowest of its kind in a century."
So, final verdict is that we're not going to die, but watch the video of the incredible solar eruption below.
In other NASA news, they're auctioning off some of their stuff.