Flare Out

Today at 7:35 UT, hours before the final Discovery shuttle launch, the Sun had a launch of its own: an M3-class solar flare spewed a giant plume of material hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Luckily this ejection was not facing Earth at the time, but the active region responsible is gradually rotating into…

Firing Off Flares

Can’t see the video below? Click here. Here’s a look at the activity on the Sun that’s gotten many talking about solar storms this week. Taken with the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s AIA 335 camera channel, which is sensitive to light emitted by Iron-14 ions in the Sun’s active corona layer, this video spans about two…

A Solar Bullet

Can’t see the video below? Click here. Around 12:38 pm EST today, an energetic sunspot region on the Sun released a flare in our direction. The video above, a crop from an SDO AIA 171 mpeg, shows the shifting coronal loops surrounding sunspot 1158 as it rotates into view over the past day or so….

The Sun in STEREO

NASA’s STEREO mission – twin spacecraft orbiting the Sun, one ahead of Earth and the other behind – has reached a milestone in its mission today: both spacecraft are now in position to be able to view the entire Sun at the same time, giving scientists the ability to monitor solar activity on both sides!…

Pillar of Fire

Ok it’s not fire, it’s plasma, but it’s nevertheless a wonderful image by space photographer Alan Friedman showing a coronal ejection towering over 200,000 miles above the surface of the sun. It was taken on July 27, 2010. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) occur when particularly large magnetic loops filled with plasma “snap” and expel their…