Amazing New Sun Photos from Space

Sun Plasma Flickers

Solar Dynamics Observatory

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 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.

Spectacular Prominence Eruption of June 2011

SOHO (ESA & NASA)

The sun on June 7, 2011, starting at about 06:41 UT, unleashed one of the most spectacular prominence eruptions ever observed.

Coronal Mass Ejection

NASA/SDO

Coronal mass ejection as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on June 7, 2011.

Sun Unleashes X1.5-Class Flare

NASA/SDO/GSFC

The sun unleashed a powerful Class X1.5 solar flare on March 9, 2011, a solar storm that could supercharge Earth's auroras. The flare was recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and other spacecraft. Here, it appears in white at the upper right of the sun as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Comet Dives Into the Sun

NASA/SOHO

The SOHO spacecraft watched as a fairly bright comet dove towards the sun in a white streak and was not seen again after its close encounter (May 10-11, 2011). The comet, probably part of the Kreutz family of comets, was discovered by amateur astronomer Sergey Shurpakov.

Huge Eruption on Sun's Far Side

NASA/Stereo/GSFC

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft caught a large coronal mass ejection as it roared away from the Sun and out into space in the opposite direction from Earth (Feb. 26-28, 2011).

Monster Prominence

NASA/SDO

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.

Class X2 Solar Flare

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.

The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face

NASA

A full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken by SDO on March 30, 2010. False colors trace different gas temperatures. Reds are relatively cool (about 60,000 Kelvin, or 107,540 F); blues and greens are hotter.

Purple Rain

SDO/AIA

This image depicts coronal rain. Encircled are two plasma streamers, one hitting the sun's surface and another incoming behind it.

Shooting Up

NASA/GSFC

A prominence leaps off the surface of the sun in this new image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory released on April 22, 2010. The prominence occurred on March 30.

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