Updated: Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 7:01 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 6:58 AM EDT
(CNN) - NASA caught some spectacular images Monday of a solar flare.
The solar prominence eruption shot off the east side of the sun just before 2 p.m. ET Monday.
Scientists say the red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas made up of electrically charged hydrogen and helium.
An erupting prominence occurs when it becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma.
Scientists are still trying to determine how and why prominences are formed.