Solar Dynamics Observatory

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 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 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
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 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
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 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. http://youtu.be/cV5ccg3n_J0 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 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
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 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
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
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
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
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 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 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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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 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
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 18, 2010

A Small Flare and Eruption from a Giant Filament

A giant filament on the sun produced a small eruption and flare.
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 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