Solar eruptions are common occurrences, but to capture one that is 500,000-miles long is another story. The stunning images you see above, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), “shows a very long, whip-like solar filament extending over half a million miles in a long arc above the sun’s surface.” Continue reading for the video and more information.

The filaments are cooler clouds of solar material that are tethered above the sun’s surface by unstable magnetic forces. ‘Towards the end of the video part of the filament seems to break away, but its basic length and shape seem to have remained mostly intact,’ says Nasa.

The video, which condenses three hours of activity, also reveals the action in dramatic detail in extreme ultraviolet light. Today it emerged the eruption was so large it will reach earth. The NOAA spaceweather prediction center estimates that a cloud of radiation from the eruption will reach Earth today. The radiation cloud will create a minor to moderate geomagnetic storm, bringing the northern lights to parts of North America.