01/07/2013 10:40 BST | Updated 31/08/2013 06:12 BST

Mysterious 'Sparkles' Discovered On The Surface Of The Sun

Scientists have discovered a new phenomenon on the Sun - and they've given it a suitably festival name…


The name refers to bright points which appear along the magnetic field lines where energy is released on the surface of the Sun.

Using Nasa's High Resolution Coronal Imager, the University of Central Lancashire team was able to find the new feature within five minutes of new data.

The BBC reported that 'sparkles' (or "extreme ultraviolet dots") might help explain why the outer atmosphere of the Sun is hotter than the surface.

While the small dots captured on the video appear tiny, they are as wide as the UK - and represent a release of the entire country's energy consumption in about 20 seconds.