One “Big Blemish” – AR 1339

Another fantastic image by Alan Friedman, this shows the massive sunspot region AR 1339 as it appeared on November 5, 2011 while in the process of rotating into view – and aim! – of Earth. Estimated at about 17 times the width of Earth, AR 1339 contains some gigantic sunspots capable of producing high-powered solar…

A Splash of Sun

A large solar flare erupted from the Sun on September 7, 2011 and resulted in a coronal mass ejection (CME) and impressive display of magnetic activity, seen here in a video made from data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory’s AIA 304 imaging assembly. Spanning the course of about three hours over the 7th and 8th…

SDO: Year One

Can’t see the video below? Click here. One year ago today, on April 21, 2010, NASA held a First Light press conference where the first images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory were presented to the public! Now here we are one year later and the images and video we have enjoyed these past 12 months…

Afternoon Delight

I spotted this on the SDO site late this afternoon…it shows an eruption of plasma from the Sun’s photosphere that stretches out many tens of thousands of miles…the Earth could easily fit many times over beneath the looping structure! This image is from about 5pm EDT (21:59 UT), and shows the eastern limb of the Sun,…

There Goes The Sun

The Sun was briefly slashed in half diagonally when Earth’s atmosphere hid it from the view of NASA’s SDO spacecraft on April 1, 2011. (No foolin’!) SDO is currently in an orbit that puts the Earth between it and the Sun momentarily each day. When this happens, SDO’s view is blocked completely for several minutes…

Detachable Prominence

Here’s the latest image of the Sun from photographer Alan Friedman, showing incredible surface detail as well as the remnants of a detached prominence that had erupted from active region 1166 on March 3, 2011. This image was taken during a Winter Star Party event in West Summerland Key, Florida. “A close-up look at the…

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…

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!…

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…

Partial Eclipse Over Holland

Here’s a gorgeous photo of this morning’s partial eclipse by Arjan Almekinders from the Netherlands! The eclipse was visible to most of Europe, as well as parts of north Africa and western Asia. While the amount of light in the sky was not diminished dramatically during this eclipse according to some observers, it was noted…

Sunny Face

The most recent (7:15 pm CST 12-10-2010) AIA image of the Sun by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Looks like a face. 🙂 That is all. Image courtesy SDO (NASA) and the AIA consortium. (Oh, and congrats to the SDO team for their image being chosen as one of LIFE’s pictures of the year! w00tw00t!)