July 2012: Coronal Rain

A moderate solar flare was emitted by the sun on July 19, 2012. At 5:58 UTC it peaked at M7.7 on the flare scale, which makes it fairly powerful, but still much weaker than X-class flares, which are the largest. What made this particular event so noteworthy was the associated activity in the sun's corona. For the next day, hot plasma in corona cooled and condensed along the strong magnetic fields of the region that produced the flare. Magnetic fields are invisible, but the plasma is very obvious in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 304 Ångströms, which highlights material at a temperature of about 50,000 Kelvin. This plasma is attracted to the magnetic fields and outlines them very clearly as it slowly falls back to the solar surface. This process of condensing plasma falling to the surface is called coronal rain.

The footage in this video was collected by the Solar Dynamics Observatory's AIA instrument. SDO collected one frame every 12 seconds so each second in this video corresponds to 6 minutes of real time. The video covers 4:30 UTC on July 19th to 2:00 UTC on July 20th, a period of 21 hours and 30 minutes.

Music—"Thunderbolt" by Lars Leonhard

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Visualization Credits

Tom Bridgman (GST): Lead Animator
Scott Wiessinger (USRA): Producer
Karen Fox (ASI): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio, the SDO Science Team, and the Virtual Solar Observatory.

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Data Used:
SDO/AIA/304 Filter 2012-07-19T04:30 - 2012-07-20T02:00
SDO/AIA/171 Filter 2012-07-19T04:00 - 2012-7-19T06:00

This item is part of this series:
Solar Dynamics Observatory: Year 3

SVS >> Coronal Mass Ejection
SVS >> Solar Flare
SVS >> Solar Ultraviolet
SVS >> Solar Wind
SVS >> Sun
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions
SVS >> Space Weather
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Solar Dynamics Observatory
SVS >> Heliophysics
SVS >> Corona
NASA Science >> Sun

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version