In honour of our Sun and the ever approaching solar maximum which we are to expect later this year, I wanted to share some amazing pictures captured
of our parent star.
Between 12 and 14 May, the Sun unleashed four intense bursts of radiation, or flares. These X-class flares - the most intense type - represent the
strongest activity on the Sun so far in 2013. This picture from Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows the first of these on 12 May.
This picture from SDO shows a flare subsiding as a burst of material leaps out from the same region into space on 3 May 2013.
This picture from the Stereo spacecraft shows a CME earlier this year. The black disc blocks out the Sun so that fainter features can be seen.
When the particles from a CME reach the atmosphere, they can cause bright aurorae (Northern and Southern lights). Strong CMEs can also disrupt
technology, potentially tripping electronics in satellites and blowing out transformers in power grids.
Flares and CMEs originate around active regions known as sunspots. These are temporary dark patches on the Sun caused by magnetic activity. The recent
flares were released from a sunspot called AR1748; this picture, taken in 2010 by the New Solar Telescope in New Jersey shows a different feature.
Nasa's SDO spacecraft carries high performance cameras that can produce movies with a similar resolution to High-Definition video. This picture shows
a bright gaseous prominence erupting from the Sun on 31 August 2012.
A corona mass ejection (CME), associated with a solar flare, blew out from just around the edge of the Sun in a glorious roiling wave (May 1,
Magnetic loops can also put on a dazzling display for watching spacecraft. They are formed by charged particles spinning along magnetic field lines
that emanate from active regions such as sunspots.
To create this colourful image, SDO took pairs of high-resolution pictures from 4 December 2011 about eight hours apart. They were then transformed
into a 3-D picture using image software.
This image is a composite of 25 separate images spanning the period of April 16, 2012 to April 15, 2013. It uses the SDO AIA wavelength of 171
Angstroms and reveals the zones on the sun where active regions are most common during this part of the solar cycle.
I hope we get to capture yet more beautiful images as the solar maximum reaches its peak .
Nasa Solar Dynamics Observatory
edit on 19-5-2013 by Lady_Tuatha because: typo