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Home By looking at the very hottest material in the sun’s atmosphere (on the left) scientists could observe the tell tale signs of the twisted magnetic fields of a flux rope – which lay at the heart of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The flux rope doesn’t show up in a nearly simultaneous image of cooler material (on the right). These images were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 19, 2012. (Credit: NASA/SDO) By looking at the very hottest material in the sun's atmosphere (on the left) scientists could observe the tell tale signs of the twisted magnetic fields of a flux rope – which lay at the heart of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The flux rope doesn't show up in a nearly simultaneous image of cooler material (on the right). These images were captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 19, 2012. (Credit: NASA/SDO)

By looking at the very hottest material in the sun’s atmosphere (on the left) scientists could observe the tell tale signs of the twisted magnetic fields of a flux rope – which lay at the heart of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The flux rope doesn’t show up in a nearly simultaneous image of cooler material (on the right). These images were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 19, 2012. (Credit: NASA/SDO)

By looking at the very hottest material in the sun's atmosphere (on the left) scientists could observe the tell tale signs of the twisted magnetic fields of a flux rope – which lay at the heart of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The flux rope doesn't show up in a nearly simultaneous image of cooler material (on the right). These images were captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 19, 2012. (Credit: NASA/SDO)

By looking at the very hottest material in the sun’s atmosphere (on the left) scientists could observe the tell tale signs of the twisted magnetic fields of a flux rope – which lay at the heart of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The flux rope doesn’t show up in a nearly simultaneous image of cooler material (on the right). These images were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 19, 2012. (Credit: NASA/SDO)

The image on the left shows a series of magnetic loops on the sun, as captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 18th, 2012. The image on the right has been processed to highlight the edges of each loop and make the structure more clear. A series of loops such as this is known as a flux rope, and these lie at the heart of eruptions on the sun known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs.) This is the first time scientists were able to discern the timing of a flux rope’s formation. (Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center)