Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) operates in a geosynchronous orbit around Earth to obtain a continuous view of the Sun. The particular instrument in this visualization records imagery in the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum at wavelengths normally absorbed by Earth's atmosphere - so we need to observe them from space.
Some impressive filaments erupt on the solar limb (lower left and lower right) in the early part of this image series.
Later (17:46:42 TAI), an active region in the upper right quadrant of the solar disk launches a mid-level M 8.7 class flare.Event Description
Large filaments appear off the limb of the Sun (lower left and lower right) in this view from SDO/AIA 304 Angstrom filter. Note the lower right filament visible in this 304 Angstrom image is NOT visible in the 171 Angstrom filter.
A large filament appears off the limb of the Sun (lower left) in this view from SDO/AIA 171 Angstrom filter. Note the lower right filament visible in this 304 Angstrom image above is NOT visible in this 171 Angstrom filter view.
The M 8.6 class flare appears prominently in the upper right quadrant of the solar disk in this view in the SDO/AIA 131 Angstrom filter.
What is the PSF (Point Spread-Function)?
Many telescopes, especially reflecting telescopes such as the ones used on SDO (Wikipedia), have internal structures that support various optical components. These components can result in incoming light being scattered to other parts of the image. This can appear in the image as a faint haze, brightening dark areas and dimming bright areas. The point-spread function (Wikipedia) is a measure of how light that would normally be received by a single camera pixel, gets scattered onto other pixels. This is often seen as the "spikes" seen in images of bright stars. For SDO, it manifests as a double-X shape centered over a bright flare (see Sun Emits Third Solar Flare in Two Days). The effect of this scattered light can be computed, and removed, by a process called deconvolution (Wikipedia). This is often a very compute-intensive process which can be sped up by using a computers graphics-processing unit (GPU) for the computation.
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 22.214.171.124.0