Black Hole Sun: Photos of a Total Solar Eclipse

Today, August 21, 2017, the Moon briefly slid in front of the Sun, casting its shadow onto the Earth–the deepest part of which (called the umbra) passing across the United States from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. I arranged to be positioned at the latter location, and thus experienced for the first time solar…

Hinode Watches the Sun Weave Its Magnetic Web

Many of the features seen on the Sun might look like tongues of flame or fiery eruptions, but there’s no fire or lava on the Sun – its energetic outbursts are driven by powerful magnetic fields that rise up from its internal regions and twist, loop, and coil far out into space. In addition to these…

Active region is active.

Active region 1163-1164 kept the show going this morning, February 27 2011, with a large coronal mass ejection (CME) that erupted at around 4:30am EST from the Sun’s western limb. The animation above was made from ten high-resolution images taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and shows this particular flare in action. (Click the image…

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…

The Sun’s Still At It!

‘Tis the season…the season for solar activity, that is! Last week was just the beginning, even though it saw some of the most powerful solar flares of the past four years send charged solar particles streaming toward Earth. Luckily our magnetosphere was in such a position to absorb much of it, creating some beautiful aurora…

From the LITD Archives: Final Flight

Originally posted on January 6, 2010. A reminder that our solar system is a dynamic place, where gravity is the rule of the game and there’s rarely a prize for second place. On January 3, the European Space Agency’s SOHO solar observatory spacecraft captured images of a comet flying towards the Sun….and then disappearing into…

Just Passing By

Holy lunar photobomb, Batman! In another brief occultation event the Moon snuck in front of SDO’s cameras on Saturday, November 6, this time passing across the orbiting observatory’s view of the Sun’s southern pole and southeastern limb in a diagonal motion. This happened previously on October 7… seems like the Moon doesn’t much like being…

Ultra Magnetism

Revealed in extreme ultraviolet light, our sun’s looping magnetic field lines are visible (watch in HD!) in this video from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite. The action spans a two-day period from June 6 – 7, 2010, and features two particularly magnetically-active regions on the sun’s surface. Superheated solar material is caught up in…

Solar Power

This video taken by the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) spacecraft, a joint project by NASA and the European Space Agency, shows a large bright active region on the Sun rotating into view on November 13. These areas, many times larger than Earth, expel large amounts of solar material and energy in the form of…