Images and data are starting to roll in from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and the images are nothing short of stunning. So, the SDO website has started a couple of new image gallery features, which will provide a “best of” weekly fix without overloading your Sun senses (and no sunscreen needed!) The first one is Pick of the Week. The image above is the first “pick” and what a pick it is! This SDO close-up shows a filament and active region on the Sun, taken in extreme UV light on May 18, 2010. It shows a dark and elongated filament hovering above the Sun’s surface, with bright regions beneath it. The filaments are cooler clouds of gas that are suspended by tenuous magnetic fields that are often unstable and commonly erupt. This one is estimated to be at least 60 Earth diameters long (about 805,000 km, or 500,000 miles). Wowza!
See below for another new SDO feature, Hot Shots.
Hot Shots will feature some great looking flares. This image from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument shows a solar eruption and a flare. The dark regions show the site of evacuated material from the eruption, and the large magnetic loops were formed during the flare. AIA takes images of the solar atmosphere in multiple wavelengths to study link changes in the surface and how they related to interior changes in the Sun. AIA takes images of the Sun in 10 wavelengths every 10 seconds.
For more see the SDO website.