This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sun as it appeared in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths on March 5, 2012 just after a major solar flare.
This view of the sun taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the active sunspot region 1429 as it appeared at 11:30 p.m. ET on March 5, 2012 to the spacecraft's Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. The region unleashed a major X-class flare just one minute before this view was taken.
A wave of solar plasma and charged particles, called a coronal mass ejection, were triggered by the strong X-class flares on March 6, 2012. This image, from NASA's sun-watching Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (or Stereo) spacecraft also shows a possible second coronal mass ejection.
A massive X-class solar flare spewed from the sun on March 6, 2012. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory observed the eruption, which looks like a sparkling diamond in this picture. [Read more about the X-class flares]
The sun unleashed two massive X-class solar flares on March 6, 2012. The flare erupted from the giant active sunspot AR1429.
The massive sunspot region AR1429 has been particularly active since it emerged on March 2, 2012.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the huge X-class solar flare erupting from the surface of the sun on March 6, 2012.
This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sun as it unleashed an X5.4-class solar flare at 7:04 p.m. EST on March 6, 2012 (0002 March 7 GMT). The flare appears as the bright spot in the upper left.
X1 Solar Flare of March 5, 2012
This still from a NASA video shows the sun as it unleashed a major solar flare overnight on March 4 and 5, 2012. The solar storm was an X1.1-class flare, the strongest type of solar eruption, and ejected a huge cloud of plasma into space.
The Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) caught the extreme ultraviolet flash of an X1-class solar flare at 11:13 p.m. EST (0413 GMT March 5).
NASA's SDO spacecraft caught this image of another X-class solar flare on March 7, 2012. SDO researchers reported on their website: "At 00:28 UTC this morning we saw another X-class flare from active region 11429." This picture shows the two ribbons of this X5.4 flare in 1600 angstrom light.
NASA's SDO spacecraft caught this image of another X-class solar flare on March 7, 2012. SDO researchers reported on their website: "At 00:28 UTC this morning we saw another X-class flare from active region 11429." This picture shows the two ribbons of this X5.4 flare in 1700 angstrom light (ultraviolet).
Skywatcher Kenneth Farmer took this photo of the sun showing AR1429 sunspot region on March 7, 2012. He says: "I live in San Francisco and took this photo yesterday through a telescope (with a solar filter) of the AR1429 sunspot region. This is the area that generated the massive solar flare."
By observing the sun in a number of different wavelengths, NASA's telescopes can tease out different aspects of events on the sun. These three images of a solar flare on Nov. 13, 2012, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), show from left to right: light in the 304 Ångstrom wavelength, which shows light from the region of the sun's atmosphere where flares originate; light from the sun in the 193 Ångstrom wavelength, which shows the hotter material of a solar flare; and light in 335 Ångstroms, which highlights light from active regions in the corona.
Visible in the lower left corner, the sun emitted an M6 solar flare on Nov. 12, 2012, which peaked at 9:04 p.m. EST. This image is a blend of two images captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), one showing the sun in the 304 Angstrom wavelength and one in the 193 Angstrom wavelength.