Watch the Sun Eat a Comet and (Partly) Explode

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What happens when a giant frozen ball of ice hurtling at over a million miles per hour suddenly smacks into our sun?

Maybe the sun blinks, or says “thank you, may I have another.” Who really knows, but in this NASA video captured by the SOHO satellite, the collision seems to trigger a massive explosion.

What looks like a solar paroxysm in the video above is in fact something called a “coronal mass ejection,” in which the sun suddenly vents massive curtains of plasma. You’ll note the timing appears to occur just after the comet disappears, suggesting a correlation, but NASA says scientists “have yet to find a convincing physical connection between sun-grazing comets and coronal mass ejections,” and that a close analysis of this particular CME shows it happened before the comet was close enough to trigger anything.

Lucky timing for a cool little light show, then.

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