Solar Activity

Latest Solar Images from The Solar Dynamics Observatory

The Solar Dynamics Observatory studies how solar activity is created and how Space Weather comes from that activity. Measurements of the interior of the Sun, the Sun’s magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the irradiance that creates the ionospheres of the planets are the primary data products. Learn more about SDO.

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AIA 304 – Latest Image

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AIA 304

This channel is especially good at showing areas where cooler dense plumes of plasma (filaments and prominences) are located above the visible surface of the Sun. Many of these features either can’t be seen or appear as dark lines in the other channels. The bright areas show places where the plasma has a high density.

Where: Upper chromosphere and lower transition region
Wavelength: 304 angstroms (0.0000000304 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: singly ionized helium (He II)
Characteristic temperature: 50,000 K (90,000 F)



AIA 171 – Latest Image

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AIA 171

This channel is especially good at showing coronal loops – the arcs extending off of the Sun where plasma moves along magnetic field lines. The brightest spots seen here are locations where the magnetic field near the surface is exceptionally strong.

Where: Quiet corona and upper transition region
Wavelength: 171 angstroms (0.0000000171 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: 8 times ionized iron (Fe IX)
Characteristic temperature: 1 million K (1.8 million F)



HMI Magnetogram – Latest Image

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HMI Magnetogram

This image comes from HMI, another instrument on SDO. It shows the magnetic field directions near the surface of the Sun. White and black areas indicate opposite magnetic polarities, with white showing north (outward) polarity and black showing south (inward) polarity.

Where: Photosphere
Wavelength: 6173 angstroms (0.0000006173 m) = Visible (orange)
Primary ions seen: Neutral iron (Fe I)
Characteristic temperature: 6,000 K (11,000 F)




A few of our Solar images