‘A wonderful spectacle’: Photographer snaps rare solar eruption as ‘magnetic noose’ strangles the sun’s south pole

A gigantic plume of plasma recently exploded from the sun’s south pole, where solar eruptions almost never occur. The explosion, which a photographer captured in stunning detail, is another telltale sign that the sun is about to enter its most active phase — the solar maximum

The rare phenomenon occurred on Feb. 17, when a solar flare exploded from a sunspot near the sun’s south pole, releasing a gigantic column of ionized gas, or plasma, that towered around 124,300 miles (200,000 kilometers) above the solar surface — around 15 times taller than Earth, Spaceweather.com reported. The plasma eventually snapped away from the sun and hurtled into space as a gigantic cloud, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME).