Recently in the Sun Category


Sun - Dark Solar Filament Liftoff

The long, dark solar filament that had been visible for many days finally lifted off and broke away into space (September 2, 2014). Filaments are elongated clouds of plasma tethered above the Sun's surface by powerful magnetic forces. Filaments are notoriously unstable.

Late Summer M5 Solar Flare

On Aug. 24, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 8:16 a.m. EDT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and STEREO captured images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun.

Twice a year, around March and around September, I get to see Earth moving in between my telescopes and the Sun. Everyday for the next three weeks Earth will eclipse the Sun.

On July 14, 2014, a sounding rocket will be ready to launch from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico a little before noon local time. Soaring up to 180 miles into Earth's atmosphere, past the layers that can block much of the sun's high energy light, the Degradation Free Spectrometers experiment will have six minutes to observe the extreme ultraviolet and soft x-rays streaming from the sun, in order to measure the sun's total energy output, known as irradiance, in these short wavelengths.

M1.3 Class Solar Flare

A class M1.3 flare can be observed from the Central-East active region on 3 June 2014 (~13 seconds into the movie), and a large prominence eruption followed by a spectacular expanding flare ribbon can be seen located to the South East, on 4 June 2014 (~33 sec into the movie). Note that on the Sun, East and West are reversed.

Scientist John Dorelli explains the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission's orbit and why the four spacecraft fly in a tetrahedron formation. This complex arrangement enables scientists to gather data about magnetic reconnection in 3D.

Two years ago, an intense solar storm, a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun, narrowly missed Earth. If it had hit, researchers say, we could still be picking up the pieces.

NASA SDO - Graceful Turbulence

Powerful magnetic forces above an active region spun and pulled at a blob of plasma until it lost its connections and blew out into space on March 26, 2014.

NRL Builds Space Satellite Module

What if you could capture solar power in space, then send it down to Earth?

An active region of the sun just rotating into the view of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory gives a profile view of coronal loops over about a two-day period, from Feb. 8-10, 2014.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory - Year 4

The Sun is always changing and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is always watching. Launched on February 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the Sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the Sun's atmosphere, the corona.

A Lunar Transit of the Sun

On Jan 30, 2014, beginning at 8:31 a.m EST, the moon moved between SDOor SDO, and the sun, giving a view of a partial solar eclipse from space.

A cloud of particles known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME, can be seen bursting up and to the right off the sun (obscured by the center disk) in this image. CMEs are a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space.

Three months after the flight of the solar observatory Sunrise - carried aloft by a NASA scientific balloon in early June 2013 -- scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany have presented unique insights into a layer on the sun called the chromosphere.

The Sun's Dynamic Loops

Giant loops of plasma above the SunÕs surface are swaying back and forth, spanning distances up to an estimated 100,000 miles (September 18-19, 2013).

A comet, streaking into the image from the bottom right, appears to be headed for an encounter with a coronal mass ejection (CME) launched from the Sun. In fact, the comet is in the foreground with the CME occurring on the farside of the Sun. The comet, probably just a few tens of metres wide, was vaporised on its approach to the Sun, and did not survive the flyby.

A Fiery Solar Explosion - The Sun as Art

Like a dragon breathing fire, a powerful blast of plasma erupts from the Sun in this colourised view of a 'coronal mass ejection'.

Using an instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, called the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, or HMI, scientists have overturned previous notions of how the sun's writhing insides move from equator to pole and back again, a key part of understanding how the dynamo works. Modeling this system also lies at the heart of improving predictions of the intensity of the next solar cycle.

An international team led by astronomers in Brazil has used ESO's Very Large Telescope to identify and study the oldest solar twin known to date.

On August 20, 2013 at 4:24 am EDT, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME, a solar phenomenon which can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later.

The Sun in the H-Alpha Band

This picture of the Sun was taken on 14 August 2013 at 09:00 CEST from the premises of ESOC, Darmstadt.

Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology's (NJIT) Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) in Big Bear, CA have obtained new and remarkably detailed photos of the Sun with the New Solar Telescope (NST).

Something big is happening on the sun. The sun's global magnetic field is about to flip, a sign that Solar Max has arrived.

The Violent Sun

ESA's Sun-watching Proba-2 satellite has been in orbit since November 2009, demonstrating a range of technologies and serving as a platform for scientific observations.

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft has captured its first observations of a region of the sun that is now possible to observe in detail: the lowest layers of the sun's atmosphere.

On July 22, 2013, at 2:24 a.m. EDT, the sun erupted with a coronal mass ejection or CME, a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space that can affect electronic systems in satellites.

Side-by-Side Solar Eruptions

Two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) expand side-by-side from the Sun and out into space in this movie, playing out in front of the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO, on 1-2 July 2013.

The European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, captured this image of a gigantic coronal hole hovering over the sun's north pole on July 18, 2013, at 9:06 a.m. EDT.

Telescope Door on IRIS Opens

Today at 11:14 pm PDT (2:14 pm EDT) the IRIS Lockheed Martin instrument team successfully opened the door on NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, which launched June 27, 2013, aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Two NASA spacecraft have provided the most comprehensive movie ever of a mysterious process at the heart of all explosions on the sun: magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection happens when magnetic field lines come together, break apart, and then exchange partners, snapping into new positions and releasing a jolt of magnetic energy. This process lies at the heart of giant explosions on the sun such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which can fling radiation and particles across the solar system.

Tracking one of the largest sunspot groups across the Earth facing solar disk. This movie covers almost 9 days, from July 3 through almost the entire day of July 11, 2013.

The sun lightens our world and enlightens our scientists as they look to our closest star for a better understanding of solar activity and what it means for our planet. Unique data from solar studies help researchers build on their knowledge of the Earth's atmosphere and climate change. June 30 marked the second time the International Space Station literally went out of its way to accommodate this research by providing a better viewing opportunity to meet Solar facility science objectives.

NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft launched Thursday at 7:27 p.m. PDT (10:27 p.m. EDT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The mission to study the solar atmosphere was placed in orbit by an Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus XL rocket.

IRIS Launch Set For Thursday

Technicians and engineers at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California mate the Pegasus XL rocket with the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, solar observatory to the Orbital Sciences L-1011 carrier aircraft.

IRIS Mission and Science Briefings

Mission managers of NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission answered questions about the upcoming launch of IRIS. IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer Mission to observe how solar material moves, gathers energy and heats up as it travels through a little-understood region in the sun's lower atmosphere.

This image shows the Heliophysics System Observatory (HSO). The HSO utilizes the entire fleet of solar, heliospheric, geospace, and planetary spacecraft as a distributed observatory to discover the larger scale and/or coupled processes at work throughout the complex system that makes up our space environment.

IRIS Aims to Answer Solar Questions

NASA's IRIS mission will focus a precise telescope on the sun to find out how energy moves and changes from the surface to the corona.

On June 20, 2013, at 11:24 p.m., the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME, a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later.

Solar Splashdown

On June 7, 2011, our Sun erupted, blasting tons of hot plasma into space. Some of that plasma splashed back down onto the Sun's surface, sparking bright flashes of ultraviolet light. This dramatic event may provide new insights into how young stars grow by sucking up nearby gas.

At the end of June 2013, NASA will launch its newest mission to watch the sun: the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS. IRIS will show the lowest levels of the sun's atmosphere, the interface region, in more detail than has even been observed before.

Here is a video fo today's beautiful arching prominence eruption on the north western limb of the Sun. One the prominence breaks, some of the plasma flows back to the solar surface, moving along the magnetic field lines. This view is in 304 angstroms wavelength of the extreme UV light.

Two or three times a year, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory observes the moon traveling across the sun, blocking its view. While this obscures solar observations for a short while, it offers the chance for an interesting view of the shadow of the moon.

Orbital Sciences team members move the second half of the payload fairing before it is placed over NASA's IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) spacecraft. The fairing connects to the nose of the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket that will lift the solar observatory into orbit. The work is taking place in a hangar at Vandenberg Air Force Base, where IRIS is being prepared for launch on a Pegasus XL rocket.

On December 15-16, 2011, a Sun-grazing comet, designated Lovejoy (C/2011 W3), passed deep within the hot solar atmosphere - the corona - effectively probing a region that could never be visited by spacecraft because of the intense heat radiating from the nearby solar surface.

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 6:49 p.m. on June 7, 2013. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where communications signals travel. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.

If you had a time machine that could take you anywhere in the past, what time would you choose? Most people would probably pick the era of the dinosaurs in hopes of spotting a T. rex. But many astronomers would choose the period, four and a half billion years ago, that our solar system formed.

Lying just above the sun's surface is an enigmatic region of the solar atmosphere called the interface region. A relatively thin region, just 3,000 to 6,000 miles thick, it pulses with movement: Zones of different temperature and density are scattered throughout, while energy and heat course through the solar material.

NASA's Newest View of the Sun

NASA hosts a news update about the June 26 launch of the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Solar Eruption on 31 December 2012

A solar eruption gracefully rose up from the sun on Dec. 31, 2012, twisting and turning. Magnetic forces drove the flow of plasma, but without sufficient force to overcome the sun's gravity much of the plasma fell back into the sun.

The Sun is nearly the roundest object ever measured. If scaled to the size of a beach ball, it would be so round that the difference between the widest and narrow diameters would be much less than the width of a human hair.

A telescope launched July 11 aboard a NASA sounding rocket has captured the highest-resolution images ever taken of the sun's million-degree atmosphere called the corona. The clarity of the images can help scientists better understand the behavior of the solar atmosphere and its impacts on Earth's space environment.

Independence Day Solar Fireworks

This image, captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows the M5.3 class solar flare that peaked on July 4, 2012, at 5:55 AM EDT.

A large solar flare erupted from the Sun earlier today, launching a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. This plasma 'cloud' is expected to pass Earth in 2 to 3 days, potentially causing increased nighttime auroras. No major effects on Earth are expected.