NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory provided the outer image of a coronal mass ejection on the surface of the sun on May 9, 2014.
Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory/NASA
October 16, 2014 6:52 PM EDT

A detailed new image of the sun is providing NASA with information about the sun’s atmosphere.

The photos, taken by NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectograph (IRIS), help explain how the sun’s atmosphere is hotter than its surface, what causes solar wind, and what mechanisms accelerate particles that power solar flares, NASA said in a release.

Some of the more noteworthy findings identified heat pockets of 200,000 degrees Fahrenheit that exist in the solar atmosphere, which scientists refer to as “heat bombs.”

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Read More From TIME

Related Stories

EDIT POST