Thanks to the Solar Dynamics Observatory, humanity keeps a 24/7 unceasing watch on our friendly neighbourhood star. But to get a better appreciation of what’s going on on the Sun’s surface, SDO has to rope in some friends.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a huge filament on the unhappy face of our Sun on February 10th. The scary fissure, which looks like a grimace on the surface of the star, is actually an enormous swatch of colder material hovering in the sun's atmosphere.
Researchers at NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) posted a short video on their Facebook page, showing a "small, hovering mass of twisted strands of plasma" as it "shifted back and forth before erupting into space."
Trying to watch the sun's explosions with your naked eyes is a recipe for blindness, but luckily NASA has a couple of telescopes that can show you all that fusion glory with none of the permanent ocular damage. Take, for instance, this 200,000-mile long canyon of fire.
NASA has published this colorful collage that shows the Sun in every possible way using all the instruments from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Scientists use these views to study different aspects of the Sun's structure and behavior:
This beautiful, unreal portrait of the Sun was taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory as it was moving into its eclipse season:
Holy Jesuspants. The image was already astonishing but this video made my head spin. Watching this magnificent violence from every angle is a good way to realize how lucky we are to be alive, precisely because of that titanic ball of fire in the sky.
Rejoice, for comet Lovejoy has survived its close encounter with the Sun! NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has recorded the exact moment it went close behind the Sun, then out again on the other side, surprisingly more or less intact.
We knew that sunspots change quite rapidly from photos, but this video shows how fast this phenomenon is. The video was made from visible light frames captured by the NASA SDO's Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. [NASA Goddard Flickr]
This is a solar eclipse. One like you have probably never seen before, taken by NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory in space. It looks really weird, as if the Sun is fizzling away, fading into the darkness of space. Why is the edge of the shadow fuzzy?
The Sun seems to be having digestive problems, and just burped this 700,000-kilometer-long magnetic filament. That's half the diameter of the Sun or about two times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Fortunately, it's not headed our way.
The moon passed between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and the sun for the first time last week, yielding this incredible eclipse photograph. Sorry, awesome solar flare in the bottom left corner, you'll have to share the spotlight this time.
This is the deadliest place in the solar system, photographed as never before by NASA's new Solar Dynamics Observatory. It's one of the first humbling, terrifying, and beautiful images returned by the spacecraft. The video is equally impressive in HD:
This is the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly. Together with the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, and the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment, it will capture the Sun at IMAX resolution every ten seconds. They will travel together inside NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft.