A NASA spacecraft views a solar eruption and its aftermath.
In September 2013, a 200,000-mile-long loop of solar material erupted in the sun's atmosphere leaving behind what looks like a canyon of fire. These giant loops, called filaments, consist of charged particles held in place by magnetic fields that extend out from the sun’s surface. On September 29-30, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft watched as a filament about 25 times the Earth’s width expanded and then collapsed just north of the sun’s equator. Moments later, it saw a glowing canyon trace the channel where magnetic fields held the structure aloft. Watch the video to see the event unfold.