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.
The image above is a composite from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), Japan’s Hinode spacecraft, and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. NuSTAR’s telescopes see high-energy X-Rays, shown in blue, Hinode sees low-energy X-rays as green, and the UV light is shown in yellow and red.
Added together, the views from different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum map out the Sun’s energy in a unique way, with highly energetic microflares showing up in blue, while the lower-energy areas remain a darker red.
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Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/JAXA