SDO Enters Its Seventh Year Observing Our Sun

Happy Launchiversary SDO! NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory lifted off aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 11, 2010, and has been observing our home star in high-definition ever since. SDO has provided us with unprecedented views of the Sun’s ever-changing atmosphere and data on the space weather it creates over the course of…

Happy 5th Launchiversary SDO!

Five years ago today, at 10:23 a.m. EST on Feb, 11, 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, sending the most advanced solar observatory satellite into orbit and giving us an amazing new look at our home star. Since then SDO has been monitoring the…

Four Years of SDO

It’s hard to believe it’s already been four years that NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has kept a watchful eye on our home star, but here we are: 2014, and the four-year anniversary of the Feb. 11 launch has come and gone. Amazing. But what’s even more amazing are all the incredible observations and discoveries SDO…

Questions About ISON? Here Are Some Answers:

Unless you’ve been living in the Oort Cloud you’ve probably heard about the current travels of comet C/2012 S1 (aka ISON) through the inner solar system. Although this soon-to-be “sungrazing” comet was first spotted by astronomers Vitali Nevski (from Belarus) and Artyom Novichonok (Russia) on Sept. 21, 2012, it’s actually been on its way toward the…

Watch the Sun’s Skin Split Open (and Then Heal Itself)

Like some kind of stellar superhero (or maybe a cosmic vampire!) our Sun’s surface splits apart and then fuses itself back together in this mesmerizing video from SDO and the folks at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center — check it out! All right now, while the Sun doesn’t really have skin like we do or…

Our Sun is Awesome

It really is. I mean, nevermind that it comprises over 99% of all the mass in our solar system, that it supplies our planet with the energy needed to sustain life on its surface, that its constantly-blowing solar wind helps keep some of those nasty cosmic particles out of the planetary neighborhood, and that it…

Here Comes the Sun! CME Headed Toward Earth, Saturday Delivery

As you read this, a huge cloud of charged solar particles is speeding toward our planet, a coronal mass ejection resulting from an X1.4-class flare that erupted from sunspot 1520 on July 12. The CME is expected to collide with Earth’s magnetic field just after 6 a.m. EDT Saturday, potentially affecting satellite operations and tripping…

How Big is a CME?

This big! The M1.7-class flare that erupted from active region 1461 on Monday, April 16 let loose an enormous coronal mass ejection many, many times the size of Earth — and I for one was glad that our planet was safely tucked out of aim at the time… and 93 million miles away! Read more here.

The Sun Fires Off a Warning Shot

Today, April 16, a class M1.7 coronal mass ejection (CME) exploded from the Sun’s eastern limb — an enormous expulsion of solar material, flung out into space by a giant snap of the Sun’s complex magnetic field.

A Solar “Danse Macabre”

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a video on March 27 – 28 showing two large areas of “dark” plasma on the Sun’s limb, twisting and spiraling in our star’s complex magnetic field. The southern region bears an uncanny resemblance to three figures swaying to some spooky, unheard music… a real “danse macabre” on the Sun! Watch the…

Sun, Moon and Spots

The Moon snuck in front of the Sun this morning from the perspective of NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (Little SDO), sliding past the sunspots of active region 1422. For a sense of scale, those sunspots are easily several times larger than Earth! Read the rest of the story here. And check out a video of the…

A Growing Sunspot: AR1416

This animation, made from images taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows active region 1416 as it rotated into view over the past week, doubling in size as it approached the center of the Sun’s disk. According to SpaceWeather.com’s Dr. Tony Phillips, AR1416 is magnetically charged in such a way as to be ready to…