"Bad Boy" active region 1339 continues to flare. At 20:27 UT a solar flare peaked at X1.9. X-class flares are pretty massive and are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. The location of this sunspot/active region is still not quiet Earth directed. Credit: NASA SDO
After several days of a quiet Sun, the solar activity is now high again. Big sunspot AR1429, which emerged on March 2nd, is crackling with strong flares. This morning brought the strongest so far--an X1-class eruption on March 5th at 0413 UT. This flare propelled a bright Coronal Mass Ejection into Space, which will probably miss Earth, but hit Mercury and Venus. Even if this CME misses, high-latitude sky watchers should still be alert for auroras in the nights ahead. An M2-class eruption from the same sunspot on March 4th produced another, wider CME that might yet intersect Earth. The cloud is expected to deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field on March 6th at 04:30 UT (+/- 7 hr). Take a look at the forecast from our friends at the NASA Goddard Space Weather Lab: http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/downloads/20120305_085600_anim.tim-den.gif Credit: NASA SDO
December 7, 2011; Today's Sun in various wavelengths showing various temperatures and layers of the Sun. Not only that, but we also added the Sun's magnetic field lines to the view. These images were taken at approx. the same time We start off looking at the 6,000 degrees C. Photosphere. See the various sunspots on the "surface" of the Sun? Now let's transition into the region between the Chromosphere and the Corona, at about 1 million degrees C. From there we go into a composite of three different wavelengths showing temperatures up to 2 million degrees C. And at the end we add the complex field of Magnetic Field lines to the various active regions. And who says the Sun is boring? Credit: NASA SDO Thanks to Steele Hill
Three energized active regions that were lined up latitudinally (along a North-South line) rotated into profile view at the Sun's edge and put on a good solar show (Oct. 21-23, 2011). They were observed in extreme ultraviolet light. The magnetic forces of the active regions were feverishly connecting and reconnecting the entire time. Towards the end of the clip, the middle region spurted off a burst of plasma and then the upper one erupted with a flare, followed by cascades of bright loops reorganizing themselves above it. SDO's high resolution images and fast cadence of images let us see a level of detail never before possible. Credit: NASA SDO
The active region (AR 1429), the source of many strong flares and geomagnetic storms in the beginning of March 2012, has completed its journey around the Sun and is peaking over the Eastern limb of the Sun. But it is not nearly the behemoth it was four weeks ago. The view through the HMI telescope shows the movement and development of this sunspot in early March and shows how this region is returning the end of March. The AIA 171 angstrom view shows the coronal loops, arcs extending off the Sun where plasma moves along magnetic field lines. This video also includes a view of early and late March 2012 activities. As the saying goes - "A trip around the Sun can make you decay...".
NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) - designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is helping us understanding the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously. SDO's goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining. Put on your 3D glasses and enjoy our active Sun in white light fading into EUV and back and froth a couple of times. Credit: NASA SDO
The Lovely Loops A close-up view of the Sun's edge shows vast loop structures made of superheated plasma, just one of which is the size of several Earths. These loops can have a wide range of temperatures, many reaching several million degrees Kelvin. The upper one of a pair of new, solar active regions that just rotated into view offered a beautiful profile view of those cascading loops spiraling above it (Jan. 15-16, 2012) following a solar flare eruption. With its ability to capture the Sun in amazing detail, SDO observed it all in extreme ultraviolet light. This particular video clip used an image every minutes to present the motion. Credit: NASA SDO