A huge loop of plasma erupts from the left side of the sun, as seen from Earth, in a new picture from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft taken on Monday. The release of the so-called solar prominence was accompanied by a medium-strength solar flare.
The eruptions also sent out a cloud of charged particles known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME. These invisible clouds can cause auroras and even electrical outages when aimed at Earth. (See "As Sun Storms Ramp Up, Electric Grid Braces for Impact.")