They gyrate like ghostly belly dancers, wisps of plasma interweaving above them.
Sun tornadoes star in this video from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), taken over the course of 30 hours from February 7 to 8. They are eruptions of searing hot plasma spiraling across the sun’s surface, according to Space.com, though they follow the magnetic field rather than being wind-driven as Earth’s tornadoes are.
The eerie yellow cast is lent by the extreme ultraviolet range of the light spectrum that the sun was filmed in, Space.com said. Such storms, along with flares such as January’s spectacular shows, are typical of what is to come as the sun’s activity peaks through 2013, according to NASA. The video commemorates the second anniversary of the SDO’s February 11, 2010, launch into space.
Below, a quick, magical look at these solar twisters. Go to full-screen view for the most dramatic effect. More video is at Space.com.