Yesterday, a gigantic explosion on the surface of the sun was captured on video. According to “Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy figures that — and he’s just eyeballing/ballparking this thing here — that something like a billion tons of material was thrust away from the sun before collapsing magnificently back to the surface.” Videos after the jump.

This wasn’t the most colossal flare we’ve ever witnessed, or even the most powerful one we’ve seen this year (it ranked as an M2.5, or medium-sized flare, in terms of energy). But the view, courtesy of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, is spectacular.

[via PopSci]