SDO Sees Brightening Magnetic Loops

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

November 18, 2015 – Two active regions sprouted arches of bundled magnetic loops above the sun’s surface in this video from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) taken on November 11-12, 2015. Charged particles spin along the magnetic field, tracing out bright lines as they emit light in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths.

About halfway through the video, a small eruption from the active region near the center causes the coils to rise up and become brighter as the region re-organizes its magnetic field. This video was taken in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths of 171 angstroms, typically invisible to our eyes but colored here in gold.

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.