SDO: Pick of the Week 2011

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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 May 05)

Post by bystander » Thu May 12, 2011 8:24 pm


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Streaming Plasma

SDO zoomed in on this active region to watch as plasma streamed back and forth above it over two days (Apr. 30 ñ May 2, 2011). Magnetic forces are pulling the material along magnetic field lines. We are observing the ionized Helium at about 60,000 degrees C. in extreme ultraviolet light.

Credit: NASA/GFSC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 May 13)

Post by bystander » Sun May 15, 2011 3:44 am


Coronal Mass Ejection: up close and personal

A coronal mass ejection (CME) blasted out from an active region that was just coming around the Sun's edge (May 9-10, 2011). Even in the close-up video of the CME observed by SDO in extreme ultraviolet light, the blast is not so apparent: it looks more like a flower opening its petals. However, the arcade of coiling magnetic field lines seen in profile are busily reconnecting after the blast (called post-flare loops) and put on a splendid show. The growing, expanding loop arcade with time is an illusion. This perceived expansion results from the magnetic reconnection process proceeding upward into the corona, forming new closed hot loops at successively higher levels in the 171 Angstrom channel. The lower loops, which get heated first, cool out of the 171 Angstrom channel sooner than the higher loops. These two effects produce an apparent rising loop system. That video clip shows about 20 hours of activity.

For a different view, SOHO's coronagraph, which blocks out the Sun (indicated by the white circle) to observe activity in the Sun's atmosphere, shows the event more clearly: the video clip shows a blossoming particle cloud as it roars away from the Sun and expands out into space over about a day. The cloud is moving at several millions of miles per hour.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/SOHO
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 May 19)

Post by bystander » Thu May 19, 2011 9:01 pm


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Connecting the Spots

An extensive series of arcs, observed in profile, can be seen making a long distance connection between two active regions (Mar. 15-17, 2011). As SDO observed in extreme ultraviolet light, a series of magnetic field lines generated a well-defined pathway from one bright active region back to another that rotates into view. Active regions, which are magnetically intense areas, appear as sunspots if viewed in normal filtered light. By rough estimate that reach extends about 250,000 miles, about the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 May 31)

Post by bystander » Tue May 31, 2011 5:06 pm


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Push and Pull of Plasma

SDO zoomed in on an interesting display of magnetic forces at work as strands of plasma were tugged back and forth over three days (May 23 to 25, 2011) above the Sun's surface. Complex magnetic forces were pulling the material along magnetic field lines. We are observing ionized Helium at about 60,000 degrees C. in extreme ultraviolet light.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Jun 03)

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:29 pm


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Snappin', Cracklin' and Poppin'

Two groups of active regions put on energetic displays of magnetic forces at work as they blast out at least five solar storms over about 36 hours (June 1-2, 2011). As they continue to rotate so that they are facing Earth, storms produced by these regions may generate "space weather" effects, including broader aurora displays and possibly technology issues. The image and movie are a combination of two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light (AIA 335 and AIA 171).

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Jun 08)

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:34 am


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Having a Solar Blast

The Sun unleashed an M-2 (medium-sized) solar flare with a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) on June 7, 2011. The large cloud of particles mushroomed up and fell back down looking as if it covered an area of almost half the solar surface.

SDO observed the flare's peak at 1:41 AM ET. SDO recorded these images in extreme ultraviolet light that show a very large eruption of cool gas. It is somewhat unique because at many places in the eruption there seems to be even cooler material -- at temperatures less than 80,000 K.

When viewed in SOHO_s coronagraphs, the event shows bright plasma and high-energy particles roaring from the Sun. This Earth-directed CME is moving at 1400 km/s according to NASA models. Due to its angle, however, effects on Earth should be fairly small. Nevertheless, it may generate space weather effects such as aurora here on Earth in a few days.


Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Jun 20)

Post by bystander » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:39 am


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Like Licks of Flame

A close-up, profile view of an active region in extreme ultraviolet light showcased several small spurts of plasma as they flickered out and retreated back into the Sun over about 13 hours (June 16, 2011). This wavelength (304 Å) captures ionized Helium at about 60,000 degrees not far above the Sun's surface. Flashes of small solar flares can be seen triggering most of these spurts.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Jun 27)

Post by bystander » Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:31 pm


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Earth-directed Coronal Mass Ejection

The Sun erupted with a modest (C-7) flare and coronal mass ejection (June 21, 2011) that was aimed pretty much right towards Earth. SDO observed the burst and ensuing coronal loops (that look like a slinky) in extreme ultraviolet light. Estimates predicted that the particle cloud might mildly impact Earth a few days later, which could perhaps generate some nice aurora at higher latitudes.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Jul 05)

Post by bystander » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:57 pm


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Loops in Profile

Spiraling magnetic loops observed in extreme ultraviolet light by SDO danced and twisted above an active region on the Sun over a one-day period (June 25-26, 2011). These loops are charged particles spinning along the magnetic field lines, and, thereby, visually revealing them. This active region, while not a powerful one, could evolve over time. It is interesting to note that the bright areas are actually groups of interacting sunspots (which appear dark in normal filtered light), but they appear bright in extreme ultraviolet light due to their condensed areas of magnetic activity.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Jul 06)

Post by bystander » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:01 pm


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One-Month Solar Rotation

Watch the Sun rotate for over a month brought to you by SDO. Since the Sun rotates once every 27 days on average, this movie presents more than an entire solar rotation. From March 30 through Apr. 29, 2011, the Sun sported quite a few active regions and magnetic loops. The movie shows the Sun in the 171 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light (capturing ionized iron heated to about 600,000 degrees), color coded to appear gold. The movie is based on a frame taken every 15 minutes being shown at 24 frames per second, with very few data gaps in this almost two-minute movie.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Jul 08)

Post by bystander » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:07 pm


Comet's Demise Observed for the First Time

The Solar Dynamics Observatory AIA imager (observing in extreme ultraviolet light) actually spotted a sun-grazing comet as it disintegrated over about a 15 minute period (July 6, 2011), something never observed before. The angle of the comet's orbit brought it across the front half of the Sun. It's not immediately obvious, but if you watch the movie closely, you'll see a line of light appear in the right just off the edge of the Sun and move across to the left. Given the intense heat and radiation, the comet simply evaporated away completely. The comet was probably a member of the Kreutz sun-grazer family.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Credit: NASA/ESA/SOHO
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Jul 15)

Post by bystander » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:52 am


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Graceful Twister

A stalk-like prominence rose up above the Sun , then split into roughly four strands, that twisted themselves into a knot and dispersed over a two-hour period (July 12, 2011). As the close-up shows (in two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light), the effect is one of airy gracefulness. This clip also underscores the value from SDO of being able to view motion with an image taken every 10 seconds.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Jul 22)

Post by bystander » Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:40 am


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The sunspot "source-ery"

Sunspots, which are cooler, darker areas of intense magnetic activity, are most often the source of solar storms. If we take the observations of the Sun's lower atmosphere in extreme ultraviolet light (July 17-18, 2011), then digitally peer down through the atmosphere to video of the surface seen in filtered light, we can see the correlation of the sunspots to the brighter active regions above the surface. The loops above the sunspot regions reveal magnetic field lines pushing out from the Sun. It is a little like sorcery, isn't it?

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Jul 27)

Post by bystander » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:23 pm


Revealing the Old Man in the Sun

When one moves through 11 SDO images taken at the same time, shown in order from the lowest temperature material being imaged to the highest, a funny thing happens: the features of a face in the Sun begin to appear. The movie underscores the fact that images taken at different wavelengths do reveal different features. The images also start at the Sun's surface and gradually move out to the Sun's upper corona. Enjoy the show!

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
SDO Finds the Man in the Sun
Universe Today | Nancy Atkinson | 2011 July 26
We all know about the Man in the Moon, but the Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft has now detected an old man in the Sun, too. He was there, at least, a few days ago but has since disappeared. In different wavelengths he appears happy, mischievous or even downright angry.

The movie underscores the fact that images taken at different wavelengths do reveal different features. The different wavelengths are shown shown in order from the lowest temperature material being imaged to the highest. The images also start at the Sun’s surface and gradually move out to the Sun’s upper corona.

SDO never fails to inform as well as amuse!

Video: SDOmission2009
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Jul 29)

Post by bystander » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:04 pm


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Marching Spots

A video clip shows an interesting alignment of three good-sized sunspot groups that present the potential for producing solar storms are rotating to the center of the Sun where any eruptions from them could affect us here at Earth (July 28-29, 2011). The lead group has the kind of magnetic field that could produce a large (X-class) flare. The images were taken by SDO’s HMI Intensitygram that shows the Sun as it would be seen in filtered white light. This is likely the best parade of sunspot groups we have seen with SDO. And take note of this: each of these sunspots is larger than Earth. Let’s see if any fireworks ensue.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/HMI
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Aug 03)

Post by bystander » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:47 pm


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Tangled up active region

This close-up presents an active region in profile as it rotated out of view. We can observe both the bright arching field lines and smaller pieces of darker matter in their midst being pulled back and forth just above the Sun's surface over about 36 hours (July 20-22, 2011). Both of these physical responses were caused by strong, tangled magnetic forces that are constantly evolving and reorganizing within the active region. Other active regions can be seen in the foreground as well. The image and movie were taken in extreme ultraviolet light of ionized iron heated to one million degrees.

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

Post by bystander » Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:40 pm


Flash Flare

An M6 flare (medium-sized) associated with a coronal mass ejection blasted out from the Sun and appears to be headed in the general direction of Earth (Aug. 3, 2011). The still show the characteristic spreading of light caused by the brightness of the flare as observed in extreme ultraviolet light. The movie covers about two hours of activity. If this particle cloud bumps Earth in a few days, it might generate bright auroras and could possibly upset electronic equipment, especially in space.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Solar Storm Heading Our Way
http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=24703
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Aug 05)

Post by bystander » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:00 pm


Third Flare in Three Days
SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Aug 05)

An M9.3 flare (fairly strong-sized) along with a coronal mass ejection (CME) blasted out from the Sun and headed in the general direction of Earth (Aug. 4, 2011). This was the third flare in three days from Active Region 1261. The still shows the characteristic spreading of light caused by the brightness of the flare as observed in extreme ultraviolet light. But, the CME can be seen distinctly as a darker cloud lifting off and rising up and out into space, something we usually do not get to see so clearly. The movie covers about four hours of activity. It is predicted that the particle cloud will impact Earth in a few days, when it will likely generate bright auroras as far south as Pennsylvania and could possibly upset electronic equipment, especially in space. The power of the storm is ranked as K-7 on a 1-9 scale. You can also watch the event in another wavelength (AIA304 in reddish-orange) of extreme UV light in which the CME appears more clearly, but the flare is not as obvious.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.

Third Flare in Three Days
SDO Image Gallery (2011 Aug 05)

An M9.3 flare (fairly strong-sized) along with a coronal mass ejection (CME) blasted out from the Sun and headed in the general direction of Earth (Aug. 4, 2011). This was the third flare in three days from Active Region 1261. The CME, in the 304 wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light, can be seen distinctly as a darker cloud lifting off and rising up and out into space, something we usually do not get to see so clearly. The movie covers about four hours of activity. It is predicted that the particle cloud will impact Earth in a few days, when it will likely generate bright auroras as far south as Pennsylvania and could possibly upset electronic equipment, especially in space. The power of the storm is ranked as K-7 on a 1-9 scale.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
Sun blows out another big one, expect aurorae tonight!
http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php? ... 90#p154490
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Aug 19)

Post by bystander » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:24 pm


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Earth-directed solar storm

An M9.3 flare (fairly strong-sized) along with a coronal mass ejection (CME) blasted out from the Sun and headed in the general direction of Earth (Aug. 4, 2011). This was the third flare in three days from Active Region 1261. The CME, seen in the 304 wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light from Solar Dynamics Observatory, can be seen distinctly as a darker cloud lifting off and rising up and out into space, something we usually do not get to see so clearly. The movie covers about eight hours of activity. The Sun itself is superimposed on SOHO C2 coronagraph. The snowstorm effect is caused by high-energy particles from the flare striking SOHO's imager. The lop-sided but fast-moving cloud of particles headed off in the general direction of and may generate some aurora activity when it arrives.

Credit: NASA/SOHO/SDO
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Aug 19)

Post by bystander » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:27 pm


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X7 Flare Blasts into Space

An X7 (major) solar flare, coronal wave and a coronal mass ejection (CME) erupted on Aug. 9, 2011. This is the largest solar flare thus far of only three X-class flares for Solar Cycle 24!! The brightness of the flare causes very bright saturation and 'blooming' above and below the flare region on the CCD detector and caused extended diffraction patterns to spread out across the SDO imager, which was observing the Sun in extreme ultraviolet light. The solar storm, which originated on the far right side of the Sun, was not Earth-directed. The video clip covers about 90 minutes of action.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA

HEAPOW: X-Class (2011 Aug 15)
http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=24908

GSFC: Sun Unleashes X6.9 Class Flare (2011 Aug 09)
http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=24829
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Aug 23)

Post by bystander » Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:47 am


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Active Region Threesome

A pair of dynamic active regions rotated into view as SDO caught the activity over for a little over two days (Aug. 15 - 17, 2011). One can compare the activity in this side-by-side-by-side video clip in three wavelengths. At left, plasma near the surface is shown at 60,000 degrees in extreme ultraviolet light. Note that the feature rising up above the Sun's edge between the active regions is a quiescent prominence. The middle portion with many looping arcs, also in extreme UV light, shows plasma heated to about a million degrees. The right portion shows the magnetically intense sunspots themselves that are the sources of all the activity. These areas have produced smaller solar storms and could yet generate stronger ones. Time will tell.

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

Post by bystander » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:01 pm


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Changing its Spots

SDO watched as areas of a sunspot group changed substantially over 2.5 days (Aug. 21-23, 2011). While one sunspot shrunk to just a dot or two, another one nearby came out of nowhere, twisted, elongated and grew so that it dwarfed the other spots. Sunspots have been known to change fairly quickly, so this is not a new phenomenon. Still, it is interesting to watch them transform themselves. Sunspots are darker cooler areas of intense magnetism that rise up from below the Sun's surface. The images and movie were produced using visible light pictures from the HMI (Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager) instrument.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/HMI
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SDO: Image Gallery (2011 Sep 06)

Post by bystander » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:01 pm


Spectacular Eruption

On June 7, 2011 the Sun unleashed an M-2 (medium-sized) solar flare (white flash in the first image) with a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME, which is the darker material). The large cloud of particles mushroomed up and fell back down looking as if it covered an area almost half the solar surface. We took three stills of the event that cover just 30 minutes of activity to give a sense of the event's progression in stages. SDO recorded these images in extreme ultraviolet light that show a very large eruption of cool gas. It is somewhat unique because at many places in the eruption there seems to be even cooler material -- at temperatures less than 80,000 K.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Sep 08)

Post by bystander » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:23 pm


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Sputtering Active Region

A close-up of one active region, seen in profile in extreme ultraviolet light, produced an interesting display of dynamic and frenetic sputtering over three days (Aug. 28-30, 2011). The twisted magnetic fields of this region featured several flares and shot out at least a dozen bursts of particles, including one solar prominence that rose up and fell back to the surface. Particles can also be seen streaming in twisting and shifting arcs that trace some of its magnetic field lines above the same active region.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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SDO: Pick of the Week (2011 Sep 09)

Post by bystander » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:14 am


Multi-wavelength flare

The Sun unleashed a series of flares over several days, of which this one on September 6, 2011 was the largest, an X 2.1 flare (major). The still shows the flash of the flare in one wavelength of extreme ultraviolet (UV) light from SDO. The video clip presents a series of five stills taken at the same time in various wavelengths of UV light. The brightness of the flare causes very bright saturation and 'blooming' above and below the flare region on the CCD detector and caused extended diffraction patterns to spread out to some degree in all the images.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA


Click to play embedded YouTube video.


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