A solar eruption gracefully rose up from the sun on Dec. 31, 2012. The eruption extends about 160,000 miles out from the sun.
2 of 30
M9 Solar Flare, January 23, 2012
Credit: NASA/SDO and the AIA Consortium/Edited by J. Major
This SDO image (AIA 193) shows an M9-class solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere at 03:49 UT on Jan. 23, 2012... just 4 days after a previous strong CME that sparked aurora around the world on the 22nd. More geomagnetic activity is expected for the 24th.
3 of 30
Sun's Twisting Plasma Tentacle
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured this eruption from March 19, 2011 as a prominence became unstable and blasted into space with a distinct twisting motion.
4 of 30
UV View of the Aug. 9, 2011 Solar Flare
This still from a video taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the Aug. 8, 2011 solar flare as it appeared in the ultraviolet range of the light spectrum. The flare registered as an X6.9 class sun storm, the largest of the Solar Cycle 24.
5 of 30
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this view of a powerful M3.6 Class solar flare on Feb. 24, 2011 during a 90-minute sun storm. NASA scientists called the display a "monster prominence" that kicked up a huge plasma wave.
6 of 30
Solar Storm on June 7
Credit: NASA/GSFC, LMSAL and SDO/AIA
A satellite view of the solar storm that erupted on the sun June 7.
7 of 30
Credit: TRACE Project, NASA
This ultraviolet image of the sun shows large sunspot group AR 9169 as the bright area near the horizon. The relatively cool dark regions have temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius, in contrast to the bright glowing gas flowing around the sunspots, which have a temperature of over one million degrees Celsius. Large sunspot group AR 9169 moved across the sun during September 2000.
8 of 30
Sun's Active Region 1158 Solar Flare
An X2.2 flare erupted from the sun's active region 1158 (at lower right) at about 0150 UT or 8:50 pm ET on Feb. 14, 2011.
9 of 30
Bastille Day Solar Flare
The "Bastille Day" solar flare as seen by SOHO's EIT instrument in the 195 Å emission line.
10 of 30
Why Sun's Atmosphere Is 'So Darned Hot'
Credit: Reale, et al. (2009)
This false-color temperature map shows solar active region AR10923, observed close to center of the sun's disk. Blue regions indicate plasma near 10 million degrees Kelvin.
11 of 30
Solar C7 Flare in Ultraviolet
The Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this video of the C7 flare of June 20, 2011 in extreme unltraviolet wavelength at 335 Å.
12 of 30
Sunspot 1158 Solar Flare
On Feb. 13th at 1738 UT, sunspot 1158 unleashed the strongest solar flare of the year so far, an M6.6-category X-ray irradiance magnitude blast. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded an intense flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation. The source of this activity, sunspot 1158 is growing rapidly.
13 of 30
Sun Whips Out Massive Flare
The sun whips out a massive flare.
14 of 30
Solar Flare SDO Photo
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory snapped this multi-wavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun, showing the Aug. 1, 2010, solar eruption that blasted charged particles toward Earth. The Class C3 solar flare triggered stunning aurora displays and geomagnetic storms on Earth that lasted about 12 hours.
15 of 30
Credit: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
This large field-of-view image of sunspots in Active Region 10030 was observed on July 15, 2002. Researchers colored the image yellow for aesthetic reasons.
16 of 30
Spicules: Jets on the Sun
Credit: K. Reardon/IBIS
A spicule is like a pipe as wide as a state and as long as the Earth, filled with hot gas moving 50,000 kilometers per hour. The "pipe" is not made of metal, rather a transparent magnetic field. Thousands of young spicules form on the active Sun. This image is one of the highest resolution taken of these enigmatic solar flux tubes. What determines the creation and dynamics of spicules remains a topic of active research.
17 of 30
Sun's Magnetic Loops on Bastille Day
One million degree hot solar plasma travels along magnetic loops in the sun's atmosphere during the Bastille Day solar storm of 2000.
18 of 30
New Space Telescope to Watch the Sun
This illustration shows convoluted magnetic field lines extending out all over the sun.
19 of 30
Huge Sun Eruption
This huge tendril of magnetic plasma erupted from the sun on Dec. 6, 2010. In this photo from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, the filament stretches across nearly 700,000 km of the sun's surface.
20 of 30
Solar Flare Hits Earth and Mars
A close-up of a solar flare taken with the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) spacecraft in September 2005.
21 of 30
Twisted Solution to Sun's Mystery Heat
Taken with Hinode’s X-ray telescope, this image shows details of magnetic field structures along an active region of the Sun.
22 of 30
New Video Reveals Major Sun Eruption
Caption: A still image taken from the new video of a Dec. 13, 2006 solar flare.
23 of 30
Solar Flare Surprise: Pure Hydrogen Shot at Earth
Credit: NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.
This powerful solar flare was spotted on Dec. 5, 2006, erupting from the sun's eastern limb (left side).
24 of 30
Class X2 Solar Flare
Credit: NASA SOHO
The image of the powerful Class X2 solar flare of Feb. 14, 2011, shows how it appeared to both the Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet light (center sun disk) and the SOHO's C2 coronagraph. This was the largest flare in more than four years.
25 of 30
Pieces of Flare
SDO observed as an active region emerged, expanded and blew out at least four flares over about a 40-hour period (June 11-12, 2010). These flares were about average in terms of their power.
26 of 30
M-Class Solar Flare — Solar Dynamics Observatory
A powerful M9-class solar flare erupted from the sun at 10:09 p.m. EDT on July 29 (0209 GMT July 30).
27 of 30
Solar Storm for Valentine's Day
A zoomed-in look at the massive Valentine's Day solar eruption, taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in ultraviolet light. Much of the vertical line in the image is caused by the bright flash overwhelming the SDO imager.
28 of 30
Major Solar Flare of August 9, 2011
This image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the X6.9 solar flare of Aug. 9, 2011 near the western limb (right edge) of the sun.
29 of 30
Stunning Monster Prominence on the Sun
One of the first images taken by SDO and still a favorite: A solar eruptive prominence as seen in extreme UV light on March 30, 2010. The superimposed image of the Earth gives a sense of just how large these eruptions can be.
30 of 30
Solar Storm X-ray Image - GOES spacecraft
The NOAA-operated GOES-15 spacecraft captured this X-ray image of a massive solar storm on Jan. 23, 2012.