SDO: Pick of the Week 2011

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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Sep 19)

Post by bystander » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:43 pm


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Large Flare and Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)

The Sun unleashed a large X class (strongest category) flare late on Sept. 7 and into early Sept. 8, 2011. The images were taken in extreme ultraviolet (UV) light from SDO. The video clip presents the flash of the flare and a mass of ejecta that rose above the Sun, some of which fell back to the surface. However, other instruments from SOHO and STEREO showed a large mass of particles rushing out into space. Flares emit a great deal of radiation, but this is not captured in this wavelength of light. The brightness of this flare caused very bright saturation and 'blooming' above and below the flare region on the CCD detector and caused extended diffraction patterns to spread out.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Sep 26)

Post by bystander » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:26 am


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Big, Bright Flare

Just as an active region (AR 1302) rotated into view, it unleashed a large (X1.4 class) solar flare (Sept. 22, 2011) as well as several smaller flares and a significant coronal mass ejection. Predictions are that the storm will likely not impact Earth. Following the bright flare, one can see brilliant coils of magnetic field lines regrouping themselves. Images were taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet light.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Sep 30)

Post by bystander » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:14 pm


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Spewing Flare Event

The Sun popped off an M-Class (moderate level) flare on Sept. 25, 2011 that sent a plume of plasma out above the Sun, but a good portion of it appeared to fall back towards the active region (AR 1302) that launched it. The activity in the video clip, seen in extreme ultraviolet light, covers just 3 hours. With an image every minute, every nuance of graceful motion can be observed in wonderful detail. The bright flash shows the flare itself erupting. Since this event, this active region has been the source of several large flares and many lesser ones that have caused geo-effective storms on Earth as it has rotated around towards facing us.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Oct 07)

Post by bystander » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:08 pm


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Interacting Active Regions

A series of active regions, lined up one after the other across the upper half of the Sun, twisted and interacted with each other over 4.5 days (Sept. 28 - Oct. 2, 2011). As seen in extreme UV light, the magnetically intense active regions sported coils of arcing loops and numerous times these magnetic field lines above them can be seen connecting with the active region next door. Towards the end of the clip, a leading active region blasted out a coronal mass ejection, quickly succeeded by a blast from another active region. The disruption of the magnetic field from one likely triggered the second, a phenomenon that we have observed before by SDO.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Oct 14)

Post by bystander » Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:44 pm


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Long Distance Connection

The magnetic field lines of two active regions on the Sun gradually reached across about one-third of the Sun and connected with each other over a little more than one day (Oct. 6-7, 2011). Active regions are magnetically intense areas that emerge from beneath the Sun's surface. The tenuous tendrils of the field lines became visible as the two active regions, not quite in sight of the spacecraft, began to rotate around, giving SDO had a good profile view of the wispy connection process. While long distance connections have been observed before, they are rarely so long reaching or so clearly defined. This observation does help underscore the interconnections of certain features of the Sun.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Oct 21)

Post by bystander » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:37 pm


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Stacked Loops: Three Flavors

Three active regions lined up vertically and each of the loop structures above them twisted differently when viewed in extreme ultraviolet light (Oct. 15 - 17, 2011). The high arching loops of the top active region seemed to lean to the north; the one beneath it clearly coiled to the south; at the bottom, one spread mostly upright and to the left and right as well. The loops are tracing particles spiraling along magnetic field lines that have emerged from underneath the Sun's surface. While the movie shows that the loops shifted and changed over 2.5 days, the basic structure of all three remained very much the same. It is not common to see active regions so neatly aligned atop one another.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Oct 28)

Post by bystander » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:15 pm


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Three in Profile

Three energized active regions that were lined up latitudinally (along a North-South line) rotated into profile view at the Sun's edge and put on a good solar show (Oct. 21-23, 2011). They were observed in extreme ultraviolet light. The magnetic forces of the active regions were feverishly connecting and reconnecting the entire time. Towards the end of the clip, the middle region spurted off a burst of plasma and then the upper one erupted with a flare, followed by cascades of bright loops reorganizing themselves above it. SDO's high resolution images and fast cadence of images let us see a level of detail never before possible.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Nov 04)

Post by bystander » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:58 pm


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Triumvirate Coming Around

One large and two good-sized, energetic active regions were rotating into view (Nov. 1-2, 2011). Note how the magnetic connection between the upper two areas clearly begin to reach over and interact with each other. Above them, the magnetic field lines, made visible in extreme ultraviolet light by particles spiraling along them, rise out and loop back to the Sun, constantly changing their structures. The image and movie were made by combining two different wavelengths of UV light. The upper most active region has already produced several M-Class (moderate sized) flares. As these regions rotate towards the center of the Sun, any solar storms they generate could produce effects here on Earth. We'll be keeping an eye out on them.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Nov 04)

Post by bystander » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:15 pm


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An X1.9 Flare at 2011 Nov 03 2027 UT

Active region AR11339 let go an X1.9 flare 2011 Nov 03 2027 UT. This large and complex active region just rotated onto the disk and we will watch it for the next 10 days.
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Nov 10)

Post by bystander » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:20 pm


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Flare and Field Line Coiling Up Close

Watch a close-up of a flare and the resulting magnetic coils of loops in a combination of three extreme ultraviolet wavelengths of light as an active region reorganizes itself over nine hours (Oct. 22, 2011). It's interesting to note the dark "blobs" falling downward into the flare from above. Remember, these are NOT dense blobs of cool matter--they're actually voids in plasma: planet-sized bubbles of low density, moving through the 15 million-degree plasma.
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Nov 18)

Post by bystander » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:25 pm


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Swirling Plasma

This close-up view of a prominence reveals magnetic forces at work as they pull plasma strands this way and that before it gradually breaks away from the Sun over a one-day period (Nov. 14-15, 2011). The activity was observed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. This prominence activity is not uncommon, especially now that the Sun's overall level of activity is increasing towards its peak expected around mid-2013.
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Nov 18)

Post by bystander » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:30 pm


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Snap! Partial Lift-off

A portion of an extremely long filament (over 1,000,000 km) that was stretched across much of the face of the Sun gracefully erupted into space ( Nov. 14, 2011). Filaments are cooler gas structures that are tethered to the Sun by magnetic forces. About the upper third of this filament rose up and broke away, but the other two-thirds still remains in sight. The images were taken in extreme ultraviolet light. The video clips covers about 12 hours of activity.
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Nov 28)

Post by bystander » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:35 pm


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Breakaway Prominence

A long, solar prominence that rotated into view almost two weeks ago finally became disorganized and broke away into space forming a nifty large loop as it did (Nov. 21-23, 2011). NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) watched in extreme ultraviolet light as the magnetic forces that tethered it in place gradually became unstable, the prominence began to crumble, and eventually lifted off. The Sun is becoming more active as it approaches the solar maximum expected in 2013.
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Dec 05)

Post by bystander » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:38 pm


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Letting Loose

A mass of swirling plasma rose up above the Sun, twisted and turned for almost a day, then broke away in to space (Nov. 29-30, 2011). The close up still and video clip in extreme ultraviolet light from SDO show material (at 90,000 degrees F.) near an active region being buffeted and pulled by magnetic forces. Two other active regions (lighter areas nearer the center and also lower left) show some good dynamic activity as well.
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Dec 12)

Post by bystander » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:54 pm


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Like Painting on the Sun's Layers

The images of this Sun (Dec. 7, 2011) taken at almost the same time are shown in various wavelengths in various temperatures and layers of the Sun. In addition, we superimposed an illustration of the Sun's magnetic field lines to the view. We start off looking at the 6,000 degrees C. photosphere that shows the various sunspots on the "surface" of the Sun. Then we transition into the region between the chromosphere and the corona, at about 1 million degrees C. where, in extreme UV light, the active regions appear lighter. We phase in a composite of three different wavelengths showing temperatures up to 2 million degrees C. To top it off, we overlay a science-based estimation of the complex magnetic field lines (partly made visible in the first UV image) extending from and connecting the active regions before going back to the sunspot image. Who says the Sun is boring?
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Dec 13)

Post by bystander » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:54 pm


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Blossoming Prominence

A stretching cloud of particles above the Sun, arched, rose up and broke away from the Sun (Dec. 8, 2011) over five hours as viewed in profile in extreme ultraviolet light. These eruptive prominences are cooler clouds of unstable gases suspended above the Sun by magnetic forces. The sliding particles cascading above the bright, active region just to the north of the prominence make for interesting watching too.
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor