A solar prominence gathered itself into a twisting cone, then rose up and broke apart in a delicate dance of plasma above the sun (Feb. 20, 2017). The event, observed in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light, lasted just about four hours. Prominences are unstable clouds of plasma suspended above the sun's surface by magnetic forces. This kind of event is not uncommon. The brighter area near the bottom of the images is an active region.
SDO is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Its Atmosphere Imaging Assembly was built by the Lockheed Martin Solar Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL), Palo Alto, California.