SDO Sees Active Region Outbursts

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

November 9, 2015 – NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted an active region near the right-hand edge of the sun’s disk, which erupted with at least a dozen minor events over a 30-hour period from November 3-5, 2015.

As competing magnetic forces grappled with each other, tongues of solar material lashed out from the sun’s surface and several small flares erupted –seen as white flashes in this extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 304 angstroms. Though the sun’s extreme ultraviolet light is invisible to our eyes, the wavelength is colorized here in red.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory 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 an instrument built in partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and another built by Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California.

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. Data from all three SDO instruments (AIA, HMI, and EVE) are used by the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado to create space weather forecasts.