A "tube" of cooler atmospheric gasses moving quickly across the Sun's powerful magnetic field has been discovered by Solar Orbiter.
This observation adds a fascinating new element to the zoo of characteristics discovered by the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter project (ESA).
On September 5, 2022, the snake was seen as the Solar Orbiter spacecraft was making its way toward the Sun in preparation for a close pass that would occur on October 12.
Plasmas are essentially a gas of charged particles because they are so extremely hot that the electrons in their atoms escape.
The magnetic field of the Sun has a very long filament that extends from one side of the Sun to the other, which the plasma in the snake is following.
The Extreme-Ultraviolet Imager onboard Solar Orbiter provided the photos used to create the time-lapse video at the top of this page.
This suggests that the snake may have been a kind of precursor to this event; Solar Orbiter captured it all using a variety of equipment.
This coronal mass ejection swept across NASA's Parker Solar Probe, allowing its equipment to measure its contents.