solar tornado
© Space Weather
The cosmic show was spotted by astrophotographer Apollo Lasky, who used images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory to create the amazing video
NASA has captured an incredible moment of a massive solar tornado, 14 times bigger than that of earth, swirling over the sun's surface.

As per the Daily Mail, the whirlwind was 74,500 miles high and swirled at a speed of 310,000 miles per hour.

Astrographer Apollo Lasky was the one who was able to spot the incredible sighting. Lasky made use of images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory of NASA in order to come up with a video of it. Lasky mentioned that the whirlwind had been twisting over the solar North Pole for around three days. Lasky notes how he was never able to see anything like this solar tornado in all his years of observing the sun.

Aside from Lasky, Andrew McCarthy, another astrographer, was also able to snap the rare whirlwinds. McCarthy mentioned that the huge swirling plasma column was raining gobs of incandescent materials that were the size of the moon.

Though baffled, astronomers think that the prominence, or filament, may be connected in some way to the sun's magnetic field reversal that takes place once each cycle.

According to the New York Post, estimates reveal that the tornado's temperature could have reached as high as a whopping 450,000 degrees. This is remarkably higher compared to the temperature of the sun's surface, which is roughly 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Causes Solar Tornadoes?

Solar tornadoes are associated with solar flares, which stem from magnetic field lines interplaying over the solar surface. It then releases plasma during spirals. The Daily Mail also notes that these solar tornadoes are rooted to both ends of the solar surface.

While their intensity and size may seem great, these whirlwinds are actually not rare. In fact, they take place multiple times each year.

Solar Filaments

According to the News Times UK, the sun has been exhibiting strange behaviors lately. Last February, a part of the solar North Pole broke off. A video reveals a huge plasma filament that rises from the sun, separates, and spirals to become a huge polar vortex.

Weather forecaster Tamitha Skov shares that the northern prominence's material has moved away from the primary filament. It is now moving over the sun's north pole in a huge polar vortex.
plasma tornado sun
© Tamitha Skov/Twitter
The sun has been experiencing bizarre behavior recently - in February, a piece of its northern pole broke off. A video shows a giant filament of plasma, or electrified gas, shooting out from the sun, separating and then circulating in a 'massive polar vortex'
These solar filaments are charged particle clouds that are situated over the sun and held by magnetic forces. They appear as imbalanced, long strands that protrude from the solar surface.

According to Skov, such a feature takes place every 11 years at a precise latitude of 55 degrees around the polar crown of the sun.

Scott McIntosh, a solar physicist who serves as the deputy director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, notes how each solar cycle forms once at a latitude of 55 degrees and starts moving up the solar pole.

There is a huge "why" that surrounds this phenomenon. Why does it get close to the pole once, disappear, and return again to the exact same region?

While filaments breaking off have been previously observed, this is the first time anyone has witnessed these whirlwinds swirling over this particular solar region.