<p>In late December an active region on the sun spewed dozens of outbursts over a 36-hour period, including the bright flare and spout of plasma—charged gas—seen in this video still from <a href="http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/">NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory</a>.</p><p>The action was driven by strong magnetic forces on the sun's surface, which can pull against each other violently, triggering bursts of solar material that get hurled into space.</p>

Sun Spout

In late December an active region on the sun spewed dozens of outbursts over a 36-hour period, including the bright flare and spout of plasma—charged gas—seen in this video still from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The action was driven by strong magnetic forces on the sun's surface, which can pull against each other violently, triggering bursts of solar material that get hurled into space.

Image courtesy SDO/NASA

Space Pictures This Week: Cosmic Cigar, Solar Spout, More

The sun spews hot gas, a meteor shower lights up New Jersey, stars shine in a rosy nebula, and more in the week's best space pictures.

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