Looking like a fiery roller-coaster, a solar arc of hot gas, known as a prominence, stretches across the surface of the sun in this ultraviolet image snapped by NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) on July 20, 2013.
With temperatures rising to thousands of degrees, the twisted filaments of plasma are shaped into intricate ribbons by powerful magnetic forces associated with giant groups of sunspots.
Launched in early 2010, the SDO studies how solar activity is created and its impact on Earth and its surroundings from the vantage point of space.
Best New Space Pictures: Saturn's Moons and Giant Stars
A new starry image from the Hubble Space Telescope and a look at Saturn's moons top our list of the best space pictures taken this week.