Every decade or so, our parent star is host to a series of explosions of superhot ionized gas called plasma, which, due to the sun’s powerful magnetic field, then circle its surface in massive, unstable solar loops. Think of it like the sun working a hula hoop of fiery death, if that helps. After a couple of weeks, the death-hoop has built up enough energy and starts to wobble. It falters once, twice, and then falls free of the sun, emitting a burst of electricity, heat, and radiation 10 times the size of Earth. You probably know this phenomenon as a solar flare. You probably thought it was benign. We just figured you might like to stop being secure in that knowledge.

Occasionally a solar loop will get so big that it results in an X-class solar flare, a huge explosion that appears to rip holes in the sun itself.

Luckily, not every solar phenomenon is fuming out there in the cold void of space, waiting to existentially terrify you into a fear-coma.

5 Mind-Blowing Things Found Hiding in Our Own Solar System