NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite captured this photo of the X-class solar flare unleashed from the sun Oct. 22, 2012.
By observing the sun in a number of different wavelengths, NASA's telescopes can tease out different aspects of events on the sun. These four images of a solar flare on Oct. 22, 2012, show from the top left, and moving clockwise: light from the sun in the 171 Angstrom wavelength, which shows the structure of loops of solar material in the sun's atmosphere, the corona; light in 335 Angstroms, which highlights light from active regions in the corona; a magnetogram, which shows magnetically active regions on the sun; light in the 304 wavelength, which shows light from the region of the sun's atmosphere where flares originate.
The October 22 X1.8 flare in a blended 304-Magnetogram image.
The October 22 X1.8 flare in a blended 304-Magnetogram image. Cropped.
A solar flare on Oct. 22, 2012 as captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in the 131 Angstrom wavelength. This wavelength of light is used for observing solar material heated to 10 million degrees Kelvin, as in a solar flare. The wavelength is typically colorized in teal, as it is here.
The October 22 flare in 335 Ångstrom light.
The October 22 flare in 304 Ångstrom light.