Showing Some Flare

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After weeks of waiting patiently, the first images are finally here! This video shows an arching prominence erupting from the surface of the Sun on March 30, 2010, as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in beautiful IMAX-quality high resolution. (By the way, AIA stands for Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, one of the three main tools SDO has for observing the Sun.)

First light image from SDO, April 21, 2010.

Be sure to crank up the video resolution too. The detail is just incredible…look at the Sun’s surface, and the way the lower arm of the prominence twists around as it expands into space. Just….wow. (And this image from NASA’s Earth Observatory site will give you an idea of the actual physical scale of this event.)

Really amazing stuff, and this is only the beginning!

Can’t see the video above? Click here, and you can read more about the mission and first light images on the SDO website here.

SDO: The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission to be launched for NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us understand 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.

Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


  1. NightEnfant says:

    Awesome. Truly awesome. It’s just amazing isn’t it?


    1. J. P. Major says:

      It is amazing. The European SOHO solar observatory has been watching the sun for years but the cameras on the new SDO are IMAX-quality HD, and can capture images much more quickly. This is imaging technology at its best!


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