NASA has released images of an enormous solar storm that extended over a three hour period on June 7. The series of pictures capture "a huge coronal mass ejection erupting from the sun," which is followed by magnetic plasma raining down over an estimated half of the sun's entire surface.

How rare is such an occurrence? In terms of space weather, it's not so dramatic. And yet, C. Alex Young, a solar astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said he had never seen material released from the sun like this before. "It looks like somebody just kicked a giant clod of dirt into the air and then it fell back down," said Young.

The solar storm hit its peak at about 2:41 a.m. EDT:

See the video here.