23 Jan '12, 11pm

Close-up views & movie of the Sun's flaring new activity, from our Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Following one of the longest and weakest periods of activity in many cycles, the Sun is brimming with activity again. In late January 2012, our nearest star offered a preview of what may be to come in the solar maximum of 2012–13. The storm has the potential to disrupt some communications and satellite systems and to bring auroras to high-latitude skies. The images above show a solar flare as observed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) at 03:27, 03:42, and 04:12 Universal Time (Greenwich Time) on January 23. Note the brightening of the solar surface as gas was superheated and magnetically supercharged. By the third (right) image, a stream of solar material is seen flowing off into space above the hot spot, likely solar protons and a coronal mass ejection. Click on the enlarged images and movies for a wider view. The high-la...

Full article: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=76998

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