Eyes On The Sun
Not a day goes by that our sun isn't doing something fascinating. That's why in February 2010, NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory with the sole purpose of spying on our massive star. Instruments aboard the spacecraft track active regions—magnetically complex and intense areas the size of planets—as they travel through the sun's atmosphere. These dynamic regions are sources of solar flares and coronal mass ejections, powerful explosions that can affect spacecraft and disrupt power grids and communications here on Earth. By observing such features, scientists can better predict solar activity. Watch the video to see a time-lapse of two active regions on the sun.
Explore views of active regions on the sun taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Active regions appear as bright spots in this video, which shows solar material coursing through the sun’s atmosphere.
Here, giant loops of solar material bridge a series of active regions.
Arching structures called prominences sometimes hover over active regions, and can even explode off the sun.
Beneath some active regions are dark spots (above, black), marking complex magnetic regions on the sun's surface.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Video and images courtesy of NASA/SDO
- Julia Calderone (USRA) [Lead]