Recently in the Solar Physics Category

Two Weeks In The Life of a Sunspot

On July 5, 2017, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory watched an active region -- an area of intense and complex magnetic fields -- rotate into view on the Sun.

At any given moment, as many as 10 million wild jets of solar material burst from the sun's surface.

For the first time in the world, scientists have explored the magnetic field in the upper solar atmosphere by observing the polarization of ultraviolet light from the Sun.

ALMA Reveals The Sun in New Light

New images from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) reveal stunning details of our Sun, including the dark, contorted center of an evolving sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth.

Tracking Waves From Sunspots

While it often seems unvarying from our viewpoint on Earth, the sun is constantly changing. Material courses through not only the star itself, but throughout its expansive atmosphere.

This eerie coloured orb is nothing less than the life-giver of the Solar System. It is the Sun, the prodigious nuclear reactor that sits at the heart of our planetary system and supplies our world with all the light and heat needed for us to exist.

Picturing the Sun's Magnetic Field

This illustration lays a depiction of the sun's magnetic fields over an image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on March 12, 2016.

SDO Sees An Unraveling Solar Prominence

An elongated solar prominence rose up above the sun's surface and slowly unraveled on Feb. 3, 2016, as seen in this video by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO.

Understanding The Magnetic Sun

The surface of the sun writhes and dances.

Groundbreaking images of the Sun captured by scientists at NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) give a first-ever detailed view of the interior structure of umbrae -- the dark patches in the center of sunspots -- revealing dynamic magnetic fields responsible for the plumes of plasma that emerge as bright dots interrupting their darkness.

Our Sun Experiences Seasonal Changes

The Sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability with its activity waxing and waning over the course of nearly two years, according to a new study by a team of researchers led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

SDO Sees The Sun's Two Coronal Holes

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, captured this solar image on March 16, 2015, which clearly shows two dark patches, known as coronal holes.

Proba-2 Views The Sun's Corona

This snapshot of our constantly changing Sun catches looping filaments and energetic eruptions on their outward journey from our star's turbulent surface.

SDO Sees Giant Filament on the Sun

A dark line snaked across the lower half of the sun on Feb.10, 2015, as seen in this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO.

Counting sunspots over time helps in knowing the activity of our star but the two indices used by scientists disagree on dates prior to 1885.

Magnetic Field Lines on the Sun

Scientists have developed a way to produce models of where the magnetic field lines are several times each day.

Coronal Loops Reveal Magnetic Dance

Magnetic Dance: Solar material traces out giant magnetic fields soaring through the sun to create what's called coronal loops.

SDO Collects Its 100-Millionth Image

On Jan. 19, 2015, at 12:49 p.m. EST, an instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured its 100 millionth image of the sun.

Magnetic fields emerging from below the surface of the sun influence the solar winda stream of particles that blows continuously from the sun's atmosphere through the solar system.

Loss of Contact with STEREO Behind

Communications with the STEREO Behind spacecraft were interrupted on October 1, 2014 immediately after a planned reset of the spacecraft performed as part of a test of solar conjunction operations.

One of the two STEREO spacecraft is experiencing communication problems. [Updated]

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has provided scientists with five new findings into how the sun's atmosphere, or corona, is heated far hotter than its surface, what causes the sun's constant outflow of particles called the solar wind, and what mechanisms accelerate particles that power solar flares.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which watches the sun 24 hours a day, has observed this gigantic filament for several days as it rotated around with the sun.

On Sept. 30, 2014, a sounding rocket will fly up into the sky - past Earth's atmosphere that obscures certain wavelengths of light from the sun -- for a 15-minute journey to study what heats up the sun's atmosphere. This is the fourth flight for the Very high Angular Resolution Ultraviolet Telescope, or VAULT, will launch from the White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Solar Explosions Inside a Computer

The shorter the interval between two explosions in the solar atmosphere, the more likely it is that the second flare will be stronger than the first one.

IRIS Footage of X-class Flare

On Sept. 10, 2014, NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission joined other telescopes to witness an X-class flare - an example of one of the strongest solar flares -- on the sun.

Significant Flare Surges Off the Sun

The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 1:48 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event.

On Aug. 24, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 8:16 a.m. EDT.

Scientists have recently gathered some of the strongest evidence to date to explain what makes the sun's outer atmosphere so much hotter than its surface.

On July 26, 2014, from 10:57 a.m. to 11:42 a.m. EDT, the moon crossed between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the sun, a phenomenon called a lunar transit.

Surrounding the sun is a vast atmosphere of solar particles, through which magnetic fields swarm, solar flares erupt, and gigantic columns of material rise, fall and jostle each other around.

A coronal mass ejection, or CME, surged off the side of the sun on May 9, 2014, and NASA's newest solar observatory caught it in extraordinary detail.

M-class Solar Flare Erupts

On April 2, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 10:05 a.m. EDT, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured imagery of the event.

The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 1:48 p.m. EDT March 29, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation.

The Solar Cycle As Seen by SOHO

It took 10 years to create this image of our changing Sun. Taken from space by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), it shows a dramatically different picture than the one we receive on Earth.

Scientists track sunspots that are part of active regions, which often produce large explosions on the sun such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs.

IRIS Views Its Strongest Solar Flare

On Jan. 28, 2014, NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, witnessed its strongest solar flare since it launched in the summer of 2013.

A pigment once daubed onto prehistoric cave paintings is set to protect ESA's Solar Orbiter mission from the Sun's close-up glare.

First discovered in 2007, "fast radio bursts" continue to defy explanation.

SDO Observes Mid-level Solar Flare

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare on the right side of the sun on May 22, 2013. This image shows light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength that shows material heated to intense temperatures during a flare and that is typically colorized in teal.

The Future of the Sun

A team of astronomers led by Jose Dias do Nascimento (Department of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte [DFTE, UFRN], Brazil) has found the farthest known solar twin in the Milky Way Galaxy -- CoRoT Sol 1, which has about the same mass and chemical composition as the Sun.

STEREO Detects a CME From the Sun

On 5:24 a.m. EDT on May 17, 2013, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME, a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later and affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground.

Activity Continues On the Sun

Solar activity continued on May 14, 2013, as the sun emitted a fourth X-class flare from its upper left limb, peaking at 9:48 p.m. EDT.

The sun emitted a third significant solar flare in under 24 hours, peaking at 9:11 p.m. EDT on May 13, 2013. This flare is classified as an X3.2 flare. This is the strongest X-class flare of 2013 so far, surpassing in strength the two X-class flares that occurred earlier in the 24-hour period.

The Sun Emitted A Mid-Level Flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 1:32 pm EDT on May 3, 2013. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) erupted from just around the edge of the sun on May 1, 2013, in a gigantic rolling wave. CMEs can shoot over a billion tons of particles into space at over a million miles per hour. This CME occurred on the sun's limb and is not headed toward Earth. The video, taken in extreme ultraviolet light by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), covers about two and a half hours. Credit: NASA/SDO

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday, April 16, to begin its final preparations for launch, currently scheduled no earlier than May 28.

Sun Emits a Mid-Level M6.5 Flare

The M6.5 flare on the morning of April 11, 2013, was also associated with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME), another solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space and can reach Earth one to three days later.

Flux Ropes on the Sun

This is an image of magnetic loops on the sun, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). It has been processed to highlight the edges of each loop to make the structure more clear.

Solving The Solar Corona Puzzle

The Sun's visible surface, or photosphere, is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As you move outward from it, you pass through a tenuous layer of hot, ionized gas or plasma called the corona. The corona is familiar to anyone who has seen a total solar eclipse, since it glimmers ghostly white around the hidden Sun.