July 3, 2020

Welcome to Aphelion 2020: Farthest point from the Sun!

Happy Aphelion 2020! July is summer in the northern hemisphere and you might think this means we are closer to the Sun. This is a common misconception. Earth is actually farther from the Sun in July and on July 4th
June 19, 2020

Fun with the Sun June 20 -21: The Solstice and an Annular Solar Eclipse

The weekend of June 20 – 21, 2020 has a lot going on when it comes to the Sun. We get to enjoy two exciting events thanks to the orbital dance between Earth and the Moon as the move together
March 19, 2020

Happy Vernal Equinox 2020: The Earliest in 124 Years

It’s Time Again for the Change of Seasons—the Vernal or March Equinox 2020! This marks the beginning of spring for the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of fall for the Southern Hemisphere. The change happens at 11:49 p.m. EDT (0349
January 5, 2020
Aphelion versus perihelion. (orbits exaggerated). Image credit: NOAA/NASA.

Happy Perihelion 2020!

All of us on Earth and in orbit reached our closest point to the Sun, January 5 at 2:48 EST or 7:48 Universal Time (UT). This point of closest approach to the Sun is called perihelion. The point when Earth
December 21, 2019

Happy Solstice! December 2019

The December solstice for 2019 arrives on Dec. 22nd at 04:19 UT (December 21st 11:19 pm EST). It is called the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the solstice
June 30, 2019

Eclipse in Chile & Argentina – July 2, 2019

Don't miss the Total Solar Eclipse! Watch online to experience the excitement from 3-6pm EDT.
June 21, 2019
June Solstice Diagram

Happy June Solstice 2019!

Happy June Solstice 2019! The beginning of summer for the northern hemisphere and winter for the southern hemisphere. The June Solstice comes on June 21, 2019 at 11:54 a.m. EDT.  But what is the solstice exactly? There are two solstices
June 5, 2019

The Carrington Flare

The first observations of a solar flare On September 1st, 1859, (161 years ago today) a 33 year old astronomer called Richard Carrington, working at an observatory in Surrey, England, went about his daily duties of sketching the peculiar dark
March 2, 2019
Layers of the Sun

Layers of the Sun

The Sun, as shown by the illustration to the left, can be divided into six layers. From the center out, the layers of the Sun are as follows: the solar interior composed of the core (which occupies the innermost quarter
February 7, 2019

How Does Sunlight Push Asteroids?

Near-Earth asteroids like Bennu pose a potential danger to our planet, so it's important to predict their orbits with great accuracy. Unfortunately, a phenomenon called the Yarkovsky effect can make these predictions difficult over long time periods. How does this effect work?
February 5, 2019
Sun and Earth Comparison

Our Star – An Introduction to the Sun

Our solar system is composed of the Sun and all things which orbit around it: the Earth, the other eight planets, asteroids, and comets. The Sun is 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) away from the Earth (this distance varies
October 28, 2018
X17 Solar Flare and Solar Storm of October 28, 2003 - See more at:

X17 Solar Flare and Solar Storm of October 28, 2003

On this day in 2003 (October 28), the Sun unleashed one of the largest and most geoeffective solar storms of the modern age (and consequently, one of the most studied).
October 5, 2018

Do Solar Flares Cause Earthquakes?

We have been getting a number of questions and comments lately regarding the possible relationship between solar activity and geological activity, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, so I have decided to look into the matter in more detail. First let
August 8, 2018
Looping animated gif of Parker Solar Probe approaching the Sun.

It’s Surprisingly Hard to Go to the Sun

Why does the Parker Solar Probe have such a long and complex orbit to get close to the Sun? Why doesn’t it just fall right toward it? Turns out it’s a lot harder to approach the Sun than you might
August 1, 2018
Parker Solar Probe

Parker Solar Probe: Humanity’s First Visit to a Star

Parker Solar Probe is a historic mission, flying into the Sun’s atmosphere (or corona) for the first time! It will have 24 orbits around the sun, traveling at a top speed of 430,000 mph—the fastest man-made object ever! It can also withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,377 degrees Celsius)!
July 14, 2018
Sunspot region NOAA AR9077 • CREDIT: NASA

Bastille Day Blast! A Celebratory Solar Flare

On July 14 2000, the sun produced a spectacular show! Sunspot region NOAA AR9077 when it was close to sun center let of a BANG!!! It was what one might call a text book space weather event. First came the
April 6, 2018

How Big is the Sun?

The Sun is really really big! It is difficult to get a true feel for how big it is because nothing in our daily life comes even close. But we can use objects that we are familiar with to provide
December 21, 2017
Winter Solstice GSFC

Happy December 2017 Solstice!

The December solstice for 2017 begins on Dec. 21st at 16:28 UT (11:28 am EST). It is called the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the solstice exactly? There
August 30, 2017
This image is a composite photograph that shows the progression of the total solar eclipse over Madras, Oregon.

2017 Eclipse Image Collection

These images of the total solar eclipse are amazing! The eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
August 22, 2017
Image of the Moon transiting across the Sun, using a blend of 171 ångstrom extreme ultraviolet light and visible light imagery from SDO from August 21, 2017. Credit: NASA/SDO

SDO’s View of the August 21 Solar Eclipse

A movie of the Aug 21, 2017 lunar transit as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO.)  Credit: NASA/SDO The Sun appears in visible light, and 171 ångstrom extreme ultraviolet light. The movie shows the Sun moving a bit because
August 21, 2017
Credits: M. Druckmüller

Eclipse Across America – August 21, 2017

For the first time since 1979, the contiguous United States will be treated to a total solar eclipse. Even more exciting, the path of totality across the USA starts in Oregon and ends in South Carolina.
June 20, 2017

Happy June Solstice 2017! Oh and the Eclipse!

Happy June Solstice 2017! The beginning of summer for the northern hemisphere and winter for the southern hemisphere. Oh, and it is two months until the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse! The June Solstice comes on June 21, 2017
April 21, 2017

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – Year 7

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has now captured nearly seven years worth of ultra-high resolution solar footage. This time-lapse shows that full run from two of SDO’s instruments. CREDIT: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO, Music: “Web of Intrigue” from Killer Tracks. The
March 20, 2017

Happy March Equinox 2017

The March equinox for 2017 begins on March 20th at 10:29 UT (6:29 am EDT.) The Spring or Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is the Fall or Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. But what is the equinox
February 24, 2017

‘The 2017 Ring of Fire’ – Annular Solar Eclipse

A ‘Ring of Fire’ for parts of South America and Africa An annular solar eclipse will grace parts of South America and Southern Africa starting on the morning of Sunday, February 26, 2017. The event begins at 12:10 UTC as
December 20, 2016
Seeing Equinoxes and Solstices from Space - CREDIT: NASA Goddard

Happy December 2016 Solstice!

The December solstice for 2016 begins on Dec. 21st at 10:44 UT (5:44 am EST). It is called the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice for the Southern Hemisphere.   But what is the solstice exactly?
September 22, 2016

Happy September Equinox 2016

The September equinox for 2016 begins on September 22th at 14:21 UT (10:21 am EDT.) The September Equinox is the Fall or Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Spring or Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the
June 20, 2016

A Rare Full Moon June Solstice for 2016!

For 2016, we get the special treat of a full moon on the June Solstice. This last happened in 1967 and will not happen again until 2062. The June solstice for 2016 begins on June 20th at 22:34 UT (6:34 pm EDT.)
May 8, 2016

Transit of Mercury – May 9, 2016

The planet Mercury will move in front of the sun, May 9, 2016, starting around 7:15 a.m. EDT and ending around 2:45 p.m. EDT. It can be seen from the ground with special solar viewing equipment however, the best way to
April 21, 2016

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – Year 6

This video shows the sun in the 171 angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. It covers a time period of January 2, 2015 to January 28, 2016 at a cadence of one frame every hour, or 24 frames per day. CREDIT: NASA/Goddard
March 20, 2016

Happy Spring Equinox 2016

The March equinox for 2016 begins on March 20th at 04:30 UT (12:30 am EDT.) The Spring or Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is the Fall or Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. But what is the equinox
March 7, 2016
Southeast Asia Total Solar Eclipse 2016

Southeast Asia Total Solar Eclipse 2016

The moon will pass in front of the sun, casting its shadow over much of Southeast Asia on March 8, 2016 EST (March 9 local time). Get details & watch live!
July 6, 2015
This diagram shows the relation between the line of solstice and the line of apsides of Earth's elliptical orbit.

Happy Aphelion 2015!

Earth reached its farthest point from the sun July 6 at 3:41 p.m. EDT or July 6 at 19:41 in Universal Time (UT). This is called aphelion. The distance from the Sun’s center to Earth’s center will be 152,093,481 kilometers or 94,506,507 miles. The
June 21, 2015
Happy Summer Solstice Northern Hemisphere

Happy June Solstice 2015

The June solstice for 2015 begins on June 21st at 16:39 UT (12:39 pm EDT.) It is called the summer solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the solstice exactly? There are two solstices in
April 3, 2015
Total Lunar Eclipse of April 15, 2014 from

Shortest Total Lunar Eclipse of the Century – April 4, 2015

Don’t blink or you’ll miss the shortest lunar eclipse of the century! What is happening? During the early morning hours of April 4, the full moon will pass through Earth’s dark or inner shadow (umbra) creating a total lunar eclipse. Portions
March 19, 2015

March 20, 2015 Supermoon Solar Eclipse

On March 20, 2015 a supermoon total solar eclipse occurs in the Faroe Islands and Svalbard (Norway), and a partial solar eclipse in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa. The eclipse starts at 07:41 UT and ends
March 2, 2015

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission: Studying magnetic fields around the Earth

By looking close to home, NASA’s newest mission with provide a window to the universe. Countdown to MMS Launch [ujicountdown id=”Countdown to MMS Launch” expire=”2015/03/12 22:44″ hide=”” url=”” subscr=””] The Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission was created to study how magnetic
February 11, 2015

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – Year 5

Happy Birthday SDO! 5 years with much more to come! The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) celebrates its 5th anniversary since it launched on February 11, 2010. This time-lapse video captures one frame every 8 hours starting when data became available
January 5, 2015
Aphelion versus perihelion. (orbits exaggerated). Image credit: NOAA/NASA.

Welcome to Perihelion 2015!

Earth reached its closest point from the sun, January 4, at 1:36am EDT or January 4 at 6:36am in Universal Time (UT). This is called perihelion. The point of closest approach is called perihelion. These terms are specific to a
December 21, 2014

The December 2014 Solstice

The December solstice for 2014 begins on Dec. 21st at 23:03 UT (6:03 pm EST, 3:03 pm PST.) It is called the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the
December 9, 2014

Be an Aurora Hunter!

Do you want to be an Aurora Hunter but have no idea how to get started? (LINKS UPDATED BELOW) Now you can be one through Aurorasaurus – be part of a grand experiment “Reporting Auroras from the Ground Up.” Join
November 9, 2014
July 15, 2012 Sparks Lake, Oregon (By Brad Goldpaint)

Northern Lights Bucket List

NOTE: The page load time might be slow due to the HD size of the photos & videos. This post is dedicated to Alex Maltosz-Cox, a 17-year old with terminal bone cancer, and his mom Bobbie. We saw your story
October 23, 2014

AR12192: Biggest Sunspot of Two Solar Cycles!

As of October 23, 2014, AR12192 is now the Biggest sunspot in 2 solar cycles. Just yesterday it reached the rank of largest sunspot in cycle 24. The sunspot measures a whopping 2700 microhemispheres (MH or millionths of a visible
October 22, 2014

Another X-flare from AR12192

14:28 UT – Flare peaked in GOES X-rays at X1.6   14:17 UT – The flare is still in progress but at the X1.4 level. NOAA/SWPC issued a R3 (out of 5) radio blackout (Wide area blackout of HF (high
October 22, 2014

AR12192: The Largest Sunspot Group of Solar Cycle 24

Since rotating into view, the sunspot group AR12192 has continued to grow in size and complexity, becoming the largest sunspot of the current solar cycle, cycle 24 (SC24.) The region has produced numerous C and M-class flares including an X1 flare. As
October 20, 2014

October 23, 2014 Partial Solar Eclipse

On Oct. 23, 2014 a partial solar eclipse will be visible to most of North America in the late afternoon. This is the last eclipse of 2014. Never look at the sun or an eclipse directly!  Eye safety during solar eclipses
October 19, 2014

The Big Spot Gives an X1.1 Solar Flare

Sunspot group, AR12192, released a strong burst of magnetic energy in the form of an X1.1 flare and a surge of solar plasma. The solar flare peaked in the GOES X-ray monitor at 5:01 UT, 10/19/2014. There was no significant
October 18, 2014

A Big Spot Coming into View

The active region on the southeast limb has now been designated as AR12192. This region has already produced several M and many C-class flares. Philippe Tosi of Nîmes, France, took this photograph of AR12192 on Oct. 18, 2014. The animated
September 12, 2014

The Small Storm Before the Big Storm?

UPDATE #4 (13:30 UT 9/13)) – The storm is subsiding but beautiful aurora were had by many. Even down to the northern US like Maine. “I took the picture from Casco, Maine, facing north towards the Presidential Range in New Hampshire,”
September 10, 2014

AR12158 Gives Away an X-flare and CME

AR12158 produced an X1.6 flare along with a coronal mass ejection. The flare peaked in X-rays at 17:45 UT. 18:20 UT (9/11/2014) – This movie is a difference movie created by Dr. Nariaki Nitta (@halocme) from the Lockheed Martin Solar and
September 2, 2014

A Dazzling Eruption Captured by STEREO Behind

SDO and SOHO were not the only spacecraft to capture the spectacular eruption off the East (left) limb of the sun on August 24, 2014. The M5.9 flare (at 12:17 UT) from AR 12151 was seen by the STEREO SECCHI
August 29, 2014

Earth is Eclipsing the Sun When Seen from Space

The Fall 2014 Eclipse SDO Eclipse Season starts today. Around 7:30 UT (2:30 EDT) each day for the next 3 weeks (until Sept. 21), Earth will pass between the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the sun. The first eclipse is only
August 10, 2014

Super Supermoon Sunday!

Today’s full moon is the year’s closest supermoon. Today’s full moon is the year’s closest supermoon. A supermoon is when a full moon or a new moon is coincident with the closest approach (called perigee) of the Moon to Earth.
August 4, 2014

Giant Filament Staring at Earth

High above the solar surface in the hot million+ C solar corona sits a giant filament of cooler (~50,000 C), denser material, both supported and restrained by solar magnetic fields. If this filament should become unstable as they sometimes do
July 8, 2014

Another M-flare from AR12113

01:22 UT – AR12113 produced an M1.2 flare that peaked in GOES X-ray at 00:26 UT Type II radio emission was detected at 00:29 UT. This emission is associated with a solar eruption and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection
July 8, 2014

AR12113 Erupts with an M6.5 Flare

03:11 UT – Space Weather researchers at NASA/GSFC have determined the CME may affect Mars and Spitzer as well as possibly glance Earth. The CME has an estimated speed of 725 km/s. Below is a computer model showing the CMEs
July 5, 2014

Welcome to Aphelion 2014!

Earth reaches its furthest point from the sun, July 3, at 8pm EDT or July 4 at 1am in Universal Time (UT). This is called aphelion. The point of closest approach is called perihelion. These terms are specific to a
June 30, 2014

Solar Activity May Soon Be on the Rise

The active sun is rotating into view, that could mean there is solar fun to come. For the past 2 weeks that sun has been a bit quiet but that is only because the regions of current solar activity were
June 20, 2014
During the solstices, Earth reaches a point where its tilt is at the greatest angle to the plane of its orbit, causing one hemisphere to receive more daylight than the other. (NASA/Genna Duberstein)

The June 2014 Solstice

The June solstice for 2014 begins on June 21st at 10:51 UT (6:51 am EDT.) It is called the summer solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the solstice exactly? There are two solstices in a
June 17, 2014

The Sun is really, really big!

A giant filament on the eastern edge of the sun really puts the size of our star, Earth and the planets into perspective. This structure of solar plasma, a billion plus tons of 80,000 degree Fahrenheit material, sits high above
June 12, 2014

A CME Impact at Earth – Maybe?

NOAA active region AR12087 began making its activity apparent in SDO well before it became visible on the Earth facing solar disk. Solar flares from the region became visible in the first week of June. On June 10, the region
June 10, 2014

Double X! AR12087 Produces Back-to-back X Flares

Just after the X2.2 AR12087 let out an X1.5 flare peaking at 12:52 UT. Here is a snapshot of the event using the SDO/AIA 131 angstrom channel. This shows plasmas with temperatures up to about 10 million Kelvin. The
June 10, 2014

X2.2 Solar Flare from New Region on Southeast Limb

12:05 UT – X flare!! An X2.2 solar flare from a new region (AR12087) on the southeast limb is underway. The flare peaked in x-rays around 11:42 UT. Here is a snapshot from the SDO/AIA 94 angstrom channel with the
June 9, 2014

Geomagnetic Storm and Aurora from Brush with CME

High latitude observers treated with spectacular aurora June 8 and June 9th. The CME that glanced Earth’s magnetosphere on June 7 started a minor geomagnetic disturbance just after the impact that grew into a G1 then G2 level geomagnetic storm
June 7, 2014

CME from Filament Eruption Brushes Earth

The CME is here! As predicted the CME from the June 4 filament eruption impacted Earth’s magnetosphere around 16:30 UT with a glancing blow and created a minor geomagnetic disturbance. The plot above shows the solar wind measured by the ACE spacecraft,
June 6, 2014

Possible Glancing Blow CME

The slow CME produced by the giant filament eruption from June 4 could give Earth a glancing blow. The impact should be very weak but there could be a minor geomagnetic enhancement on June 7. High latitude aurora watchers may
June 5, 2014

Giant Filament Erupting into Space

A huge filament on the southeast of the sun erupted towards the end of June 4. The filament was somewhere between a whopping 500,000 – 1 million km in length. This eruption produced a fairly slow coronal mass ejection that
April 21, 2014
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO/S. Wiessinger

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – Year 4

Massive solar flares, graceful eruptions of solar material, and an enormous sunspot make up some of the imagery captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory during its fourth year in orbit. CREDIT: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO, Music: Stella Maris courtesy of Moby
April 14, 2014

Total Eclipse of the Moon – April 14-15, 2014

What is happening? During the nighttime hours of April 14 or 15 (depending on your time zone), the full moon will pass through Earth’s dark or inner shadow (umbra) creating a total lunar eclipse for most of North and South
February 28, 2014

SDO Spring Eclipse Season 2014

It’s that time of year. SDO spring eclipse season started February 27, 2014. During the 3 week season, Earth will pass between SDO and the Sun around 07:30 UT each day. Initially the eclipses are a few minutes long. Their
February 20, 2014

Starting the Day with a Flare, Protons and a Geomagnetic Storm

Geomagnetic storms continue while an eruption on the west limb of the sun brings a flare, protons and possibly another CME our way. Solar Eruption The sun erupted with an M3 X-ray flare (NOAA Scale R1-Minor radio blackout) peaked in
February 19, 2014

Geomagnetic Storm and Aurora from Valentine’s Weekend CME

A CME from February 16, 2014 has impacted Earth. The CME’s magnetic structure was such that it stirred things up in the magnetosphere.   A significant interplanetary shock detected by ACE at L1 at 3:10 UT, February 19, 2014.   The
February 14, 2014

Waiting for an Aurora Valentine

3 CMEs are headed for Earth with the first impact expected late on Feb. 14, 2014 for some Valentine’s day and weekend aurora! Space weather forecasters are waiting to see what is in store for this weekend. Three separate CMEs
February 12, 2014

Current Solar Rumblings and Valentine’s Day Aurora

A whole lot of spots going on! We no longer have the rumbling region AR11967 but the solar disk is covered with smaller regions and AR11974 is sitting at disk center popping of lots of small and medium-sized flares. It
February 5, 2014

AR11967 Still Remains Moderately Active

The level of solar activity is moderate. NOAA region 11967 continues to be the largest and most complex active region on disk. This region would engulf Jupiter and several Earths all at once. This region has maintained spot area and decreased marginally in
February 3, 2014

The Sun’s Magnetic Poles Have Flipped…Solar Max is Here!

Although this might sound alarming, there really is nothing to worry about! It’s a normal part of the solar cycle – it heralds the second half of the solar cycle. Learn about why this happens. At a Glance The sun’s
February 1, 2014

AR11967 Continues its Flaring and AR11968 Sends a CME Our Way

 There are two main active regions (ARs 11967/11968) on the sun and both are giving a moderate show. AR11967 continues to produce C- and M-level events, including an M3.0 flare at 07:14 UT Feb. 1, 2014. The region continues to show signs
January 31, 2014

Possible Glancing Blow from M6.6 Associated CME

CME may impact Earth on Feb. 2, 2014 according to NASA SWRC research models. At 16:11 UT Jan. 30, 2014, an M6.6 flare from AR11967 peaked in the GOES X-ray monitor. This was about 15 minutes after the completion of an
January 29, 2014

A Long Lunar Transit for SDO – Jan. 30, 2014

UPDATES 16:17 UT (11:17 UT) – The transit ends with a bang! – an M6.6 flare peaked at 16:11 from AR11967. These images are from just before the flare peak at around 16:00 UT (11:00 EST) again in all 9 SDO/AIA wavelengths.
January 29, 2014

AR11967 Keeps Up Activity – More M-flares Possible

AR11967 continues to stay lively. In less than 24 hours on Jan. 28, it produced 7 M-class solar flares. The largest flare was an M4.9 at 19:00 UT. Here is a video of composite 304, 171 and 193 angstrom SDO/AIA
January 28, 2014

It’s Back – AR11944 is back as AR11967

Sunspot group or active region AR11944 that gave us such a show at the beginning of the year is back. After taking its trip around the sun it has rotated onto the Earth facing solar disk and NOAA has labeled it
January 27, 2014

Just Shy of an M5 Solar Flare

  22:30 UT – January 27, 2014 – At 22:10 UT a solar flare erupted from the new region coming into view – peaking at an M4.9 rating. NOAA issued an R1 (out of 5) radio blackout meaning possible HF
January 7, 2014

X1 Solar Flare, Coronal Wave with Possible Earth-directed CME

UPDATE – 17:59 UT – January 10, 2014 – Though there is still a chance for some geomagnetic effects from the CME it turned out to not be much of an event and we will most likely not see any increased
December 20, 2013

The December 2013 Solstice

The December solstice for 2013 begins on Dec. 21st at 17:11 UT. It is called the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the solstice exactly? There are two solstices
November 28, 2013

Comet ISON Q&A

What are your questions? Post them in the comments & I’ll work on getting them getting answered ASAP.
November 19, 2013

Solar Eruption from AR11893 (Updated)

11 UT (11/19/2013) – Sunspot group AR11893 erupted producing a X1 solar flare peaking at 10:26 UT, Nov. 19, 2013. A 10 cm radio burst associated with the solar flare was observed at 10:20 UT. This radio noise is generally
November 17, 2013

Comet ISON: Coming to a Sun Near You

Current Status of Comet ISON Updated Nov. 27, 2013 – 10:40 am EST or 15:40 UT Size 1.3 mi in diameter or 2 in diameter km Date and Time of Perihelion  28 November 2013, 18:38 UT (1:38 EST) Distance from
November 15, 2013

Coming and Going: Two Weeks of Magnetic Spots and Loops

When sunspots rotate onto the solar disk facing Earth they are identified by their structure in white or visible light. Sunspots are regions of concentrated magnetic field. They are like complicated clusters of bar magnets on their sides. Some are
November 2, 2013

A Rare Treat from the Sun, Earth and Moon – A Hybrid Eclipse

There will be a hybrid solar eclipse on Sunday November 3, 2013. This rare occurrence of an annular and total eclipse is the final eclipse event of 2013. Never look at the sun or an eclipse directly!  Eye safety during solar
October 30, 2013

A Whole Lot Happening on the Sun – In Many Types of Light

The sun has been really active lately. SDO gives us an amazing view of this activity in many different wavelengths of light. This also shows us the sun’s atmosphere in many temperatures ranging from ~4500 Kelvin or 7600 degrees Fahrenheit
October 25, 2013

X Marks the New Spot! (Updated)

The newest active region on the sun has given us an X-flare and a CME! 15:10 UT (10/25/2013) X again! AR11882 kicked it up again with an X2.1 peaking at 15:03 UT. A multi-million degree snapshot with SDO/AIA 94 angstrom.
September 30, 2013

Spectacular Erupting Filament with Earth-directed Space Weather

A huge filament erupted from the sun producing a beautiful coronal mass ejection (CME) and solar energetic particle event. Around 21 UT, 9/29/2013 a filament erupted from the northwest quadrant of the sun. It started from the surface with a
August 22, 2013

Slow Earth-directed Halo CME

This time a CME is headed directly for us! Around 5:24 UT (1:24 EDT), the SOHO/LASCO C2 instrument caught a first glimpse at a CME leaving the sun directly for Earth. The CME is traveling at a fairly slow ~610
August 20, 2013

Aurora Ahead? – Filament Eruption with an Earth-directed CME

There may be a geomagnetic storm in store for Earth. Lookout aurora watchers! A filament ~50 Earths in length (~400,000 miles) erupted from the Sun’s southern hemisphere in the southwest direction around 7:24 UT (4:24 am EDT). The eruption produced
August 19, 2013

SOHO/LASCO C3 Sees a Very Bright Kreutz-group Sungrazing Comet

“One of the brightest Sungrazers we’ve seen in a long time …”, tweeted Karl Battams (@SungrazerComets) of NRL’s Sungrazing Comets Project. Battams estimates the comet to be approximately 30-50 kilometers wide and expects it to reach speeds of at least 500
August 17, 2013

M3.3 Solar Flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection

A long duration M3.3 flare with a beautiful eruption and CME! Active region AR11818 produced a flare peaking in X-ray at 18:24 UT (2:24 pm EDT). The eruption produced extended X-ray emission with another flare, ~M1.5 after the initial eruption
May 29, 2013

Giant Hole in the Solar Corona!

Aptly enough, we call these coronal holes. These dark patches in the sun million plus degree corona are areas where the solar atmosphere rapidly streams away from the sun. This stream of particles from the solar atmosphere is called the
May 27, 2013

Filament Eruption Sends CME Headed Towards STEREO Ahead and Mars

A filament erupted on the backside of the sun and was observed by the EUVI instrument on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft. The eruption produced a CME detected by STEREO-A COR2, STEREO-B COR2 and SOHO LASCO C3 around 19:24 UT, May
May 22, 2013

M5+ Solar Flare from Filament Eruption (Updated)

21:21 UT (5/23/2013) – Proton levels the eruption are still at the S2 NOAA alert level, down from S3. The particles are very apparent in SOHO/LASCO C2, showing up as “snow” on the images. 1:17 UT (5/23/2013) – Currently, a S2
May 17, 2013

CME may impact the Earth and Spitzer 5/19/2013

16:16 UT – NASA SWRC simulations indicate that the leading edge of the CME will reach Spitzer at 2:56 UT 5/19/2013 and Earth at 11:59 UT 5/19/2013 (+- 7 hrs). Roughly estimated expected maximum Kp index is 5-6 (minor to moderate).
May 17, 2013

Wiggling Loops from 4 Flares – May 13 – 16, 2013

Wiggly Jiggly Loops by 4 flares from an evolving sunspot AR11748 showed us some exciting yet basically benign activity. A little image processing helps us really see certain aspects of the activity. Keep an eye out for wiggling loops set
May 14, 2013

AR11748 Releases Yet Another X Flare – X1.2

The active region that could, has again given us an X flare! That makes 4! 12:15 UT – The NASA GSFC Space Weather Research Center has estimated that the CME may give a glancing blow to Epoxi (~5/18/2013 06:00 UT) and
May 13, 2013

Three’s a Charm! Another X Flare!

The unnamed region on the east limb has produced a 3rd X-class flare! (Updated) 11:44 UT – The NASA GSFC Space Weather Research Center has estimated that the CME will merge with CMEs associated with the 2 X-flares (X1.7 and X2.8) and may give a
May 13, 2013

The 2nd X-flare for 2013

Larger than the First! – (Update) In less than 24 hours, the active region about to rotate into view has produced another X-class solar flare. 19:15 UT – The NASA GSFC Space Weather Research Center has estimated that the CME  may give
May 13, 2013

First X-flare of 2013

A new active region peaking around the edge of the sun released an X-class solar flare At 2:17 UT or 10:17 pm EDT, an active region that has not yet rotated into view produced an X1.7 solar flare on May
May 10, 2013

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – Year 3

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center heliophysicist C. Alex Young highlights many interesting aspects of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) images and points out several of the single-frame events that appear in it. This video shows those three years of the sun at a pace of two images per day.
May 8, 2013

‘Ring of Fire 2013’ – Annular Solar Eclipse

The first solar eclipse of 2013 is Australia’s 2nd in 6 months Queensland Australia gets another celestial treat after enjoying a total solar eclipse in November 2012. On Friday morning, May 10 (local time Australia), the Moon will travel in
April 12, 2013

A Decent Threefer Solar Eruption – Flare, CME and Particle Storm

M6.5 solar flare, Earth-bound CME and a particle storm! AR11719 produced the largest flare of the year, an M6.5, peaking in GOES X-ray at 7:16 UT on April 11. First, we have a snapshot of the flare from the SDO/AIA
March 16, 2013

Waiting for a St. Patrick’s Day Aurora

Look at for Aurora tonight and tomorrow at high latitudes! Yesterday’s coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to sweep past Earth in the last half of today (March 16, 2013) sometime around 18UT (+- 7-8 hours). Forecasts are from minor
February 28, 2013

Van Allen Probes Discover a 3rd Radiation Belt around Earth

Learn about this new result in a video by NASA Goddard Heliophysics Division. NASA presented these results at a press conference today. Tomorrow I will be on a Google Hangout with several of my colleagues at NASA Goddard. Ask
February 21, 2013

A Spot with Potential

A sunspot region with potential, AR11678! Yes pun intended. This solar active region (AR for short) has emerged suddenly from under the solar photosphere (the visible “surface”) packed with magnetic potential energy and the potential for some significant flaring. It
January 24, 2013

Two CMEs Including One Earth Directed

  Two solar filaments lifted off the sun in beautiful eruptions on January 23, 2013. Both eruptions produced coronal mass ejections or CMEs observed with the SOHO LASCO C2 coronagraph at 3:12 UT and 14:12 UT respectively.   The first
December 20, 2012

Doomsday 12/21/12: Not from the Sun!

It’s official! The sun cannot bring the end of the world. We are quickly approaching the supposed doomsday, December 21, 2012. As we and many have already said it is “Not Gonna Happen”. Many who have been promoting the doomsday
December 18, 2012

The Truth About 2012, Solar Storms and the Fate of The Blue Marble

What is so special about December 21, 2012? Let’s see. It is the 2012 winter equinox for the northern hemisphere. It is 10 days before the end of the calendar year 2012. It is a Friday. But what it is
November 12, 2012

Total Solar Eclipse in the South Pacific – November 13/14, 2012

  A total eclipse of the Sun will be visible on November 13/14, 2012 in a narrow path across the southern hemisphere. The Moon’s umbral shadow starts in northern Australia following a path across the South Pacific Ocean without crossing
November 10, 2012

Possible CME Glancing Blow on 11/13/2012 at Earth

A C-type CME was detected by STEREO-A COR2 at 5:39 UT on 11/10/2012. The estimated speed is ~900 km/s. Based on preliminary heliospheric modeling carried out at NASA GSFC Space Weather Research Center, it is estimated that the CME may
November 9, 2012

A Slow, Faint CME Headed to Earth

A CME is coming our way! A slow (only ~570 km/s  Type-C), faint CME was detected by LASCO and STEREO around 15:24 UT 11/09/2012 and it is heading in the direction of Earth. Computer models indicate that the leading edge
November 8, 2012

Two Non-Earthbound CMEs May Impact Mars and Several Spacecraft

Two CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) occurred in the early hours of November 8, 2012 (UT), the later one a more significant, O-type CME. The 2 CMEs are denoted with red arrows in this snapshot from the NASA Space Weather Research Center (SWRC)
November 7, 2012

Solar Activity Picks Up, Just a Bit

    An M1.7 flare peaked at 02:23 UT, November 8, 2012. This is not really a big flare but everybody’s attention picks up when the activity level reached M-class (mine included). I don’t yet know where the event came
October 10, 2012

The Sun Today for October 10, 2012

  Two new active regions could bring solar activity, one numbered (AR11589) and one not yet on the solar disk. Based on recent activity M class flares are possible from both. The region just over the limb produced an M1
July 12, 2012

Earth Bound CME Predicted with X1 Flare Event

Possible Moderate to Severe Geomagnetic Storm Sunspot group, AR11520, produced an X1.4 solar flare, peaking in the NOAA GOES X-ray monitor at 16:52 UT (12:52 EDT). This flash of electromagnetic radiation temporarily altered the upper atmosphere changing its ability to
June 30, 2012

Venus Transit Part 2 – A Rare Treat on Earth

Venus transits in front of the sun are rare spectacles when viewed from Earth. It won’t happen again in our lifetime! It is the rarest predictable astronomical event, occurs 4 times every 234 years!
June 29, 2012

Some Moderate Activity for June 28-29

Over the past 24 hours, sunspot group AR11513 has increased in complexity, producing several C-class flares and 2 M-class flares, an M2.4 on June 28 at 16:07 and an M2.2 on June 29 at 9:10 UT . Both AR11513 and
May 20, 2012
“Ring of Fire” Solar Eclipse

05.20.12 – “Ring of Fire” Solar Eclipse

During the annular eclipse the Moon will travel in front of the Sun blocking most of its light—except for what looks like a 'Ring of Fire' around the Moon's edge.
May 6, 2012
AR11476 Flaring in Multiple Wavelengths

AR11476 Comes into a Multicolored View

4 M-class Flares and More A new active region (AR11476) has been rotating into view during the beginning of May 2012. It has been producing CMEs and by May 5th it started releasing small M-class flares and lots of C-class
April 24, 2012
Purple Pillars and Green Auroral Glow over the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland captured by Martin McKenna and shared through

Aurora over Giant’s Causeway and Ballintoy Harbour, Co. Antrim

Gorgeous aurora captured by Martin McKenna! Last night’s geomagnetic storm (April 24, 2012) put on quite a show and this was not even a large event. This is near the childhood homes of some of our esteemed Irish solar physics colleagues!
April 23, 2012
At 17:40 UT, the Sun produced a C2 solar flare with a radio burst and a SCORE-C CME. NASA Goddard Space Weather Center predicts it will reach Earth 4/27/2012 at 5:49 UT with only minor impact.

A Little Flare & Some Geomagnetic Activity – April 23, 2012

At 17:40 UT, the Sun produced a C2 solar flare with a radio burst and a SCORE-C CME.  NASA Goddard Space Weather Center predicts it will reach Earth 4/27/2012 at 5:49 UT with only minor impact. Currently, there is a
April 22, 2012
Mercury Bound CME in LASCO/C2

A Prominence Eruption Sends a CME to Mercury

On April 22, 2012, filament material uncurled as an erupting prominence around sunspot group AR11463. There was a C1.8 solar flare and the resulting eruption produced a SCORE-C CME detected by SOHO/LASCO C2 at 15:30 UT.
April 21, 2012
SDO Year 2

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – Year 2

April 21, 2012 marks the two-year anniversary of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) First Light press conference, where NASA revealed the first images taken by the spacecraft. This video highlights just some of the amazing events witnessed in SDO’s second
April 17, 2012

Beautiful Eruptions from the East Limb of the Sun

An eruption of plasma from just behind the solar limb observed by SDO with the 304 Angstrom camera.This shows material at temperatures around 60,000-80,000 Kelvin. This produced a CME that went out the left side (East) of the Sun starting around 2 UT. At ~1000 km/s the CME has a SCORE O (for ordinary). NASA produced a computer model predicting the CME will impact STEREO Behind on 4/17 at 7:40 UT (but not Earth).
March 14, 2012

Unidentified Sun Object is Identified! A Little Black Spot on The Sun Today

On March 12, 2012, Sunsflare posted a video asking if anyone could identify a circular object seen in SDO coronal images. The video was also posted on Facebook with the same question posed. I answered the question on Facebook but
March 14, 2012

Comet SWAN Heading for the Sun!

Sungrazing comet seen for the first time with the SOHO/SWAN instrument. It is aptly named Comet SWAN. Ukrainian Amateur astronomer, citizen scientist, and SOHO Comet Hunter Vladimir Bezugly reported a bright blob on images taken by the SWAN instrument on
March 14, 2012

It Just Won’t Quit! More from AR11429!

  Sunspot group or active region AR11429 has almost rotated out of view but it still had enough energy to release an M7.9 X-ray solar flare, a fast coronal mass ejection (CME) and a solar energetic particle event (SEP). A
March 11, 2012

More Geomagnetic Storms Predicted for March 11, 2012

    CMEs are on their way to us! Estimated impact is March 11, 2012 around 2-3 PM EDT. High latitude aurora watchers keep lookout the night of March 11, 2012. On March 10, 2012, the sun produced 1 C-class
March 9, 2012

Geomagnetic Storm Picks Up! And AR11429 Flares Again!

      Nature never ceases to surprise and amaze. Just when it looked like the geomagnetic storm from yesterdays CME impacts had fizzled out, Earth’s magnetosphere continues its upset state. Even before the Kp index (a measure of the
March 7, 2012

Double Blast – Exciting Space Weather from AR11429

Sunspot group, AR11429 (Active Region), is at it again. When it first began its journey across the Earthward side of the Sun it released an M-class flare, an X-class flare and several more M flares, along with several CMEs. Early
March 6, 2012

4 M-class Flares in a Row

Sunspot group, AR11429, started off its journey across the Earth facing side of the Sun with several bangs. First it produced an M flare on March 2 at 17:29 UT (with a CME) then came another M flare (with a
March 5, 2012

3 Days of AR11429 – Lots of Activity

Sunspot group AR11429! Here is a look at AR11429 from Friday to today showing the 2 M-class and 1 X-class flare blasting away from the Sun. In addition to those events and their associated CMEs there is a lot of
February 6, 2012

Happy 10th RHESSI!

Ten years ago yesterday (5 February 2002) saw the launch of the Reuven Ramaty High-Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or RHESSI (pronounced reh-see). RHESSI was designed to study particle acceleration and energy transport during solar flares by observing the highest energy
December 15, 2011

Lovejoy’s Last Day – Unprecedented Multi-spacecraft Observations of a Comet’s Demise (Surprise filled update 12/16/2011)

UPDATE: Lovejoy survived despite most predictions to the contrary! Check out the videos below. A sungrazing comet called Lovejoy is near what will surely be its end. Sungrazers melted by the Sun is not really new. In fact, SOHO has become
November 3, 2011

Space Weather This Week: 10/27/2011 – 11/02/2011

Solar Activity Solar activity was at low to moderate levels, with occurrences of several C-class flares and three M class flares (see the list below). Quite a few slow to moderate CMEs were detected emanating from different regions of the
November 3, 2011

The Spot Marks X!

      Sunspot group AR11339 (AR stands for Active Region) has just rotated onto the Earth facing disk of the Sun. Before coming completely into view the region had produced two M flares in 24 hours (an M4.3 flare
October 26, 2011

Anatomy of a Geomagnetic Storm – What made that great Aurora?

  Saturday, October 22, 2011, started like most any other day, lots of activity of varying size and shape was occurring on the Sun. Most people looking at the Sun that day remember the spectacular lightbulb shaped CME that occurred
October 26, 2011

Happy 5th STEREO!

    A spectacular filament eruption from June 7, 2011 captured by the STEREO Ahead spacecraft with EUVI 304, Cor1 and Cor2. Happy Birthday STEREO!! October 26 ,2011 is the 5th anniversary of the launch of the STEREO mission and
September 6, 2011

M5 flare and a CME to the Side

  At 01:50 UT, sunspot group, AR11283, produced an M5 solar flare and CME (coronal mass ejection) from near the center of the solar disk. The CME  appears to be moving at an angle away from a path straight towards
August 28, 2011

Sunday CME – Activity on 28 August 2011

Well, it has been a fairly quiet couple of weeks since all the activity at the beginning of the month. Early in the morning of 28 August 2011, a small filament erupted with an associated B-class solar flare. Here is
August 9, 2011

Bazinga! Largest Solar Flare Yet for Solar Cycle 24!!

  Sunspot group AR11263 is about to rotate out of view but before it goes, it produced a treat for us!! An X7 solar flare, coronal wave, coronal mass ejection (CME) and a well-connected proton event. This is the largest
July 25, 2011

Transit Part 1 – Is it a UFO or just Venus?

If you have looked at data from the SOHO LASCO C3 coronagraph over the last week or so you may have noticed the very bright object in the field-of-view. You might even think it looks like a UFO. You are not alone.
July 4, 2011

Solar Hibernation: Much Ado About Nothing?

      A few weeks ago 3 groups of solar scientists released a joint press release at the 2011 meeting of Solar Physics Division (SPD) of the American Astronomical Society. Each group presented a unique set of solar observations,
June 7, 2011

A Spectacular Event – A Filament/Prominence Eruption to Blow Your Socks Off!

A solar flare, coronal wave, filament eruption, coronal rain & a coronal mass ejection (CME)!
May 23, 2011

A Prominence Breaks Free (SOHO Pick of the Week – May 20, 2011)

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft observed as a photogenic, solar prominence erupted and broke out into space over about 18-hour period (May 13, 2011). Prominences, notoriously unstable structures, are cooler clouds of gas that float above the Sun’s surface, tethered there
May 20, 2011

Connecting the Spots (SDO Pick of the Week – May 20, 2011)

An extensive series of arcs, observed in profile, can be seen making a long distance connection between two active regions (Mar. 15-17, 2011). As SDO observed in extreme ultraviolet light, a series of magnetic field lines generated a well-defined pathway
May 10, 2011
At ~20:40 UT on May 9, 2011 the area produced a C5 solar flare.

A Signal of New Activity? A CME and Flare Coming Around the Bend

There is an active region rotating onto the side of the Sun facing Earth.   At ~20:40 UT on May 9, 2011, the area produced a C5 solar flare. But there is more to it than meets the eye!! First,
May 8, 2011

The Space Shuttle’s Importance to Solar Physics

With the approaching final launch (scheduled July 8, 2011) of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the end to the 30 plus year Space Shuttle program, it is a good time to take a brief fond farewell look at the Shuttle
April 21, 2011
SDO: Year One

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – Year One

April 21, 2011 marks the one-year anniversary of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) First Light press conference, where NASA revealed the first images taken by the spacecraft. In the last year, the sun has gone from its quietest period in
April 1, 2011

Then and Now

SDO Pick of the Week for April 1, 2011   A side-by-side comparison of the Sun from precisely two years ago (left, from SOHO) to the present (right, from Solar Dynamics Observatory) dramatically illustrates just how active the Sun has
February 8, 2011

Seeing the Sun in a Whole New Light

NASA Spacecrafts Provide Never Before Seen 360° View of Sun On Super Bowl Sunday NASA’s STEREO spacecrafts captured something no one has ever seen before, a view of the entire sun. This first ever 360-degree picture of the sun will
February 4, 2011

The Day We See the Entire Sun!

Superbowl Sunday 2011 February 6, 2011 should be a date marked in everyone’s calendars. Not only is it Superbowl Sunday (XLV) here in the United States, but it will also be the first time in history that we will be
January 16, 2011

When the Sun has Holes We Often Get Aurora

Two coronal holes that develop over several days stand out in this image and video clip of the Sun from SDO’s AIA instrument (Jan. 9-12, 2010). In the extreme UV wavelength of 193 Angstroms, one dark coronal hole intensifies just
January 10, 2011

Solar Desktop Wallpapers

We have reached the milestone of 1000 Fans on our FaceBook page! As promised, we have been preparing a small treat for all of you as a sign of appreciation for making the TheSunToday page such a great success in
December 30, 2010
On December 26, SOHO discovered its 2000th comet.

SOHO’S 2000th Comet Spotted By Student

On December 26, SOHO discovered its 2,000th comet. Drawing on help from citizen scientists around the world, SOHO has become the single greatest comet finder of all time. This is all the more impressive since SOHO was not specifically designed to find
December 21, 2010
C2 CME Triple Play

A CME Triple Play

SOHO’s LASCO C2 and C3 coronagraphs caught the action as three, separate coronal mass ejections (CMEs) blasted out in succession from the Sun (Dec. 12, 2010). These were each distinct and unconnected events. The first CME event (directly on the
December 12, 2010

Epic Solar Filament Eruption from Dec. 6, 2010 Seen by STEREO

A very long solar filament that had been snaking around the Sun erupted (Dec. 6, 2010) with a flourish. STEREO (Behind) caught the action in dramatic detail in extreme ultraviolet light of Helium. It had been almost a million km
December 6, 2010

Arcing Loops

Arcing loops above an active region put on a slinky-like show for SDO, evidence of the dynamic, magnetic struggles taking place below (Nov. 28-30, 2010). Particles spiraling along magnetic field lines trace their paths as they gracefully shift and change.
December 2, 2010

Happy Birthday SOHO!! 15 Years!!

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory or SOHO is by many accounts the granddaddy of modern solar astronomy. SOHO is not the first space based solar observatory but it has truly ushered in a golden age for solar physics. The mission
December 1, 2010

Seven-Day Sun

For seven days SDO’s HMI instrument watched as a small sunspot group morphed, merged and grew into two large sunspots (Nov. 13-19, 2010) as other sunspots begin to emerge as well. We selected an image about every 15 minutes (approximately
November 15, 2010
A wide and vigorous active region group (AR11121 and AR11123) produced several flares as SDO observed in 171 angstrom extreme ultraviolet light (Nov. 11-12, 2010).

Flashing Flares – SDO Pick of the Week (15 Nov 2010)

A wide and vigorous active region group (AR11121 and AR11123) produced several flares as SDO observed in 171 angstrom extreme ultraviolet light (Nov. 11-12, 2010). The tangle of magnetic field lines, made visible by particles spinning along them, connected and
November 8, 2010

Another Lunar Transit of the Sun Seen by SDO

As expected SDO experienced another lunar transit on November 6, 2010. This time the moon crossed the southern hemisphere moving from the south pole towards the northeast (left side) edge of the sun. The transit took about 30 minutes and
October 25, 2010

Magnetic Field Lines Galore (SDO Pick of the Week)

The illustration maps the magnetic field lines emanating from the Sun and their interactions superimposed on an extreme ultraviolet image from SDO (Oct. 20, 2010). As one can see, the field lines are most dense around active regions, but they
October 18, 2010

A Small Flare and Eruption from a Giant Filament

A giant filament on the sun produced a small eruption and flare.
October 18, 2010
SOHO Pick of the Week - 15 October 2010

A Twisting Solar Prominence (SOHO Pick of the Week)

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft caught this tumultuous solar prominence as it twisted and turned over about 18 hours, as seen in profile above the Sun?s surface, before disappearing (Oct. 8, 2010). The cloud of cooler gases, suspended by magnetic forces,
October 11, 2010
Increased Auroral Activity Oct. 11-12 from a Halo CME Oct. 6, 2010

Increased Auroral Activity Oct. 11-12 from a Halo CME Oct. 6, 2010

Around 3:30 UT on October 6, 2010 a filament erupted in the northeast part of the solar disk (upper left area). Moving at around 375 km/s (850,000 miles per hour) the CME combined with the ambient solar wind then over
October 7, 2010
A Solar Eruption as the Earth Blocks SDO’s View of the Sun

A Solar Eruption as the Earth Blocks SDO’s View of the Sun

A filament erupted in the NE area of the sun. The eruption was observed by SDO and the associated Halo CME was seen by SOHO's C2 and C3 coronagraphs. SDO is currently in eclipse season so during this event the earth moved between SDO and the sun, moving across the sun for a few minutes.
October 5, 2010
Exceptional Rocket Waves Destroy Sun Dog

The Launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (Part 2)

Thursday morning seemed to take longer to arrive. Expectations were certainly higher, based in no small part on the fact that most of us had flights booked to take us home later that day. Washington DC had just gotten its
October 4, 2010
The Sun Observed by SDO - 171 Angstrom and Magnetic Field

A Solar Active Region’s Parting Flare

Solar sunspot group, active region (AR) 11109, is rotating out of view over the western limb of the sun. As it was moving out of the view of the earth and SDO it produced a C-class (C2.3) solar flare at
October 1, 2010
AV-021 SDO Rollout to Pad

The Launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (Part 1)

Getting out of Washington DC was not going to be easy. The city was bracing itself for the biggest snowstorm in almost a century over the weekend. The launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO; the first mission from NASA’s
September 22, 2010
STEREO image composite of the CME from 12/12/2008

3D Visualization of a Coronal Mass Ejection

Our good friends and colleagues at Trinity College Dublin have created a 3D visualization of the propagation of a coronal mass ejection (CME). Using multiscale image processing and 3D visualization the team reconstructed the trajectory of an earth-directed CME observed
September 9, 2010

Solar Active Region’s Farewell Blasts

Just as sunspot group AR11105 rotated out of the Earth’s view it produced a spectacular show. A large prominence erupted along with a C3 solar flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) blasted away from the sun. This great show
September 9, 2010

Solar Eruptions with STEREO Ahead

A View of the Active Sun with EUVI, COR1 and COR2 A very busy active region popped off about ten blasts of solar material over a two-day period (Aug. 31- Sept. 2, 2010). With this composited image and movie three
September 8, 2010
The Sunspot and Solar Activity Cycle

Solar Activity and the Solar Cycle

The Sun is not just a big bright ball. It has a complicated and changing magnetic field, which forms things like sunspots and active regions. The magnetic field sometimes changes explosively, spitting out clouds of plasma and energetic particles into