A Transient Transit

Almost forgotten today in all the excitement over the giant prominence seen by SDO, the Moon also had a small role to play over the weekend: its lunar transit of the Sun in front of SDO’s cameras! Although brief and not captured by all the AIA instruments, AIA 304 did manage to glimpse a peek…

Flare Up

I caught this image this morning on the SDO site…it shows an eruption of plasma from the Sun’s photosphere that stretches out several tens of thousands of miles…the hooked loop at the end could easily encircle the entire Earth! This image is from about 11am or so, within a couple of hours the structure had…

A Pair of Flares

  A twisting pair of prominences erupt almost 50,000 miles above the surface of the sun in this image from SDO, taken today, October 21, 2010. This is a composite of two imaging wavelength filter images (AIA 304 and 171), combined to show surface (photosphere) detail as well as lower atmosphere (chromosphere) detail. The scale…

The Sun and the Moon

From an SDO image chosen as the Pick of the Week for October 15th, this shot is almost too cool to be real…but it is! As the New Moon passed between the Solar Dynamics Observatory and the Sun, the spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit got a view of the Moon’s silhouetted disc passing across its normally-unobstructed…

Prominence Earth

A serpentine solar prominence snakes thousands of miles through space towards an unsuspecting Earth! This apocalyptic sci-fi scene is made up of two combined images of the sun from NASA’s SDO sapcecraft, acquired today September 25, 2010, superimposed and edited to show both surface (chromosphere) detail as well as coronal features, and an image of…

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…

As The Day Is Long

Happy Summer Solstice! A this is the day that the Earth’s northern hemisphere receives the longest amount of sunlight during the course of the year, I thought it only appropriate to feature a pic of the Sun! Above is a detail from a high-resolution image taken today by the Solar Dynamics Observatory showing some very…

Coronal Loops

Seen in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, bright coronal loops erupt from the edges of a sunspot in this image, a detail of a larger image captured by the SDO spacecraft earlier today. (Click to see the full-sized version.) Coronal loops are plasma-filled “tubes” that arc upwards from the Sun’s surface and reconnect at both ends. They…

Showing Some Flare

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…