NASA’s SDO Watches Bursts Of Solar Material

July 22, 2016 – Solar material repeatedly bursts from the sun in this close-up captured on July 9-10, 2016, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

The sun is composed of plasma, a gas in which the negative electrons move freely around the positive ions, forming a powerful mix of charged particles. Each burst of plasma licks out from the surface only to withdraw back into the active region – a dance commanded by complex magnetic forces above the sun.

SDO captured this video in wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light, which are typically invisible to our eyes. The imagery is colorized here in red for easy viewing.

SDO is designed to study the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. 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 needed to protect aircraft, satellites and astronauts living and working in space.

SDO includes three instruments: the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) built in partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) built in partnership with Stanford University, and the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) built in partnership with the Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory.

Goddard 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.