A stunning eruption unleashed by the sun two years ago is providing clues about how stars form, scientists say.
On June 7, 2011, the sun blasted out an enormous cloud of superheated plasma called a coronal mass ejection. Some of this material rained back down on the sun in a dazzling display that researchers say is helping them understand how newborn stars suck up plasma from their surroundings.
"This opens the way to new studies that link the sun to young stars, by both solar and stellar physicists," said study lead author Fabio Reale, of the University of Palermo and the Palermo Astronomical Observatory in Italy. [Watch video of the spectacular June 2011 solar eruption]