May 22, 2017 – NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured video of magnetic reconnection occurring on the sun’s surface from May 17-18, 2017. Several bright bands of plasma connected from one active region to another, even though they were tens of thousands of miles away from each other.
Active regions are, by their nature, strong magnetic areas with north and south poles. The plasma consists of charged particles that stream along the magnetic field lines between these two regions. The connecting lines are clearly visible in this wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.
SDO was launched on February 11, 2010 aboard a ULA Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The spacecraft’s long-term measurements give solar scientists in-depth information to help characterize the interior of the sun, the sun’s magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the density of radiation that creates the ionosphere of the planets. The information is used to create better forecasts of space weather.
Goddard Space Flight Center built, operates and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. SDO is the first mission of NASA’s Living with a Star Program. EVE was built in partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).