With a little bit of luck, NASA was able to capture video of solar material erupting from the sun at a stunning speed of 1.5 million mph.
Its Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), which was launched a year ago, captured its first coronal mass ejection last month.
The solar mass shown in the field of view for this video is about the size of five Earths wide and seven-and-a-half Earths tall. Though the imagery was taken on May 9, it was just recently released by NASA.
Watch historic coronal mass ejection:
It takes a little bit of guess work to target IRIS on different areas of the sun in the hopes of catching such a coronal mass ejection.
Bart De Pontieu, IRIS’ science lead at Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, explained that they focus IRIS on particularly active regions and “then we wait and hope that we’ll catch something.”
“This is the first clear CME for IRIS so the team is very excited,” De Pontieu said, according to NASA.