Amazing New Sun Photos from Space

The Sun Has a Smile


This still from a NASA video shows an apparent smiley face on the sun as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The solar happy face is seen in different wavelengths in a video posted on July 25, 2011.

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.

New Year's Eve Solar Flare: M6.4 on 12/31/13


An M6.4 class solar flare erupts from the sun in this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which was captured on Dec. 31, at 4:59 p.m. EST.

2014 New Year's Day Solar Flare: M9.9 (Full Disk)


Several wavelengths of light combine in this full disk version of a New Year's Day solar flare, categorized as an M9.9 and peaking at 1:52 p.m. EST on Jan. 1, 2014.

Large Sunspot: January 2014 Solar Flares


The large sunspot near the center of the sun is part of an active region that produced a mid-strength solar flare on Jan. 7, 2014. An outline of the flare can be seen in the overlay. The sunspot group is some seven Earth's across.

X1.2 Solar Flare Full Sun: Jan. 7, 2014


This full-sun view combines two images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured on Jan. 7, 2014. Together, the images show the location of a giant sunspot group on the sun, and the position of an X-class flare that erupted at 1:32 p.m. EST.

Setting Sun with Sunspot AR 1944 HDR Filtered by Petricca

Giuseppe Petricca

Giuseppe Petricca sent this HDR filtered photo of the setting sun with sunspot AR 1944 still visible on the horizon. Petricca took this photo on Jan. 7 from Sulmona, Italy using a Nikon P90 bridge camera on a tripod (ISO 64, f/6.3, 1/1200" exposure). Welding glass was used giving the photo a green color.

Close-Up of Solar Flare Seen by Solar Dynamics Observatory on Jan. 30, 2014


A solar flare erupts on Jan. 30, 2014, as seen by the bright flash on the left side of the sun, captured here by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory Sees a Solar Flare and a Lunar Transit


A solar flare erupts on Jan. 30, 2014, as seen by the bright flash on the left side of the sun, captured here by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. In the lower right corner the moon can be seen, having just passed between the observatory and the sun.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.