Solar watch

Earth-facing side of the sun without visible sunspots

Images taken by Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on July 17, 2014 show no active sunspots on the visible solar disk. To be correct, tiny decaying AR 2113 is still visible, but its size remains so small that the plots and charts didn't registered it. SDO's

July 17, 2014

MESSENGER and STEREO measurements open new window into high-energy processes on the Sun

Understanding the sun from afar isn't easy. How do you figure out what powers solar flares – the intense bursts of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots – when you must rely on observing only the light and particle

July 09, 2014

STEREO probes operations will be curtailed for more than a year

NASA's revolutionary twin STEREO probes which allowed us to see the farside of the Sun and make 3D models of incoming CMEs will pass directly behind the Sun later this year making images from the probes unavailable for quite some time.While planning the

June 28, 2014

STEREO maps much larger solar atmosphere than previously observed

Surrounding the sun is a vast atmosphere of solar particles, through which magnetic fields swarm, solar flares erupt, and gigantic columns of material rise, fall and jostle each other around. Now, using NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, scientists have

June 26, 2014

Solar mini-max

NASA and NOAA agree: Solar Max has arrived, but this "mini Max" is not like any other solar maximum of the Space Age.Years ago, in 2008 and 2009 an eerie quiet descended on the sun.  Sunspot counts dropped to historically-low levels and solar flares cease

June 09, 2014

The best observed X-class flare

On March 29, 2014 the sun released an X-class flare. It was observed by NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS; NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO; NASA's Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or RHESSI; the Japanese Aer

May 08, 2014

Earth directed solar flares possible in the coming days

Solar activity was at low levels during last 24 hours, however, that might change today and in the days ahead. Active Region 2036 exhibited rapid growth over the last few days and is now almost directly facing our planet. Earth directed eruption

April 16, 2014

Rare ripple in Earth's magnetic field occurred during yesterday's X1.0 solar flare

During yesterday's major X1.0 solar flare (17:35 - 17:54 UTC) a rare event called Magnetic crochet occurred. Magnetic crochet, also known as Solar Flare Effect, occurs during fast impulsive flares and is described as a ripple in

March 30, 2014

SDO 2014 spring eclipse season has begun

Twice every year, around the time of the equinoxes, Earth can pass directly between the Sun and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), producing a series of beautiful eclipses. For the next 3 weeks the Earth will pass between SDO and the Sun around 07:30 UTC

March 01, 2014

Solar Dynamics Observatoy (SDO) - Year 4

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched on February 11, 2010, keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the Sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the Sun's atmosphere, the corona. The

February 11, 2014

Our changing climate and the variable Sun

Solar physicists around the world today are wondering: has the Sun fallen silent? In 2013, the Sun began the peak phase of its 11-year sun spot cycle called the Solar Maximum when sunspot production should be at its highest. However, the lack of sunspot activity has

February 01, 2014

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Argos view

Argos (or Argus Panoptes) was the 100-eyed giant in Greek mythology. While NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has significantly less than 100 eyes, seeing connections in the solar atmosphere through the many filters of SDO presents a number of interesting

December 17, 2013

The weak solar cycle and its consequences

At this year's Fall Meeting of American Geophysical Union, held in San Francisco (December 9 - 13), several scientists made a presentation on weak Solar Cycle 24 and its consequences. They agree that the current solar cycle is on track to be

December 12, 2013

Largest ever recorded solar flare in history - The "X-Whatever" mega flare

On this day, exactly 10 years ago, the largest ever recorded solar flare in history erupted from Sun's western limb. This mega flare started its historic eruption at 19:29 UTC from Active Region 10486 and peaked around 19:50 UTC. Ionizing radiation from the

November 04, 2013

Rare hybrid solar eclipse event on November 3, 2013

Annular total solar eclipse will sweep over the Atlantic Ocean and the middle of Africa on November 3, 2013. The eclipse will be total only along a narrow path over the Atlantic Ocean and equatorial Africa from Gabon to Somalia. Most of Africa, the

October 31, 2013

Five days of flares and CME's - 26 M and X-class solar flares

This movie shows 23 of the 26 M- and X-class flares on the Sun between 18:00 UTC on October 23 and 15:00 UTC on October 28, 2013, as captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It also shows the coronal mass ejections, great clouds of solar

October 29, 2013

Sungrazer's final approach to the Sun

SOHO's LASCO C3 coronagraph treated us with another movie of comet's death plunge into the Sun. Like other comets that were recorded during August, today's sungrazer belongs to Kreutz Sungrazer family. Those

October 10, 2013

Sungrazing comet and farside full-halo CME

An icy comet with estimated size of few tens of meters plunged into the Sun on August 19/20, 2013 but just before it dissipated, a far-side region on the Sun expelled a magnificent full-halo CME. Today's comet belonged to Kreutz Sungrazer family which

August 20, 2013

Sungrazing comet visible on SOHO Lasco C3 imagery today

A small comet is diving toward the Sun today, August 19, 2013 and is visible on SOHO Lasco C3 imagery. It entered visual field of Lasco C3 coronagraph at 07:54 UTC on August 18th. The comet belongs to Kreutz Sungrazer family. Those

August 19, 2013

SDO Lunar transit (August 6, 2013)

For almost 1 1/2 hours the Moon made an appearance in NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory's view on August 6, 2013. The Moon itself looks much bigger than the Sun - as the Moon is many times closer to Earth (and to SDO) than the Sun

August 07, 2013

Magnetic pole reversal of the Sun 3 - 4 months away

As it does approximately every 11 years on a solar cycle, the Sun's magnetic field is now reversing. Measurements have confirmed that we are about 3 - 4 months away from complete magnetic field reversal when Sun's inner magnetic dynamo will re-organize itself.

August 06, 2013

IRIS delivers first images of Sun's atmosphere in unprecedented detail

Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft, launched at the end of last month, opened its telescope door on July 17, 2013 and has captured its first observations of Sun in unprecedented detail. IRIS captures images of the lowest levels of

July 26, 2013

Multiple views of solar activity - illustration

SOHO's latest "Picture of the week" edition released great graphic illustration of combination of Sun-observing spacecrafts coverage of solar events. From their positions near the Sun-Earth line, SDO and SOHO observed small CME on July 4, 2013. At

July 20, 2013

Million kilometers long coronal hole appeared in the sun's northern hemisphere

A vast coronal hole stretching more than a million kilometers across the sun's northern hemisphere is facing Earth. A stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole (NOAA CH 575) should reach Earth on July 19-20, 2013 so increased geomagnetic activity levels

July 19, 2013

Traveling sunspot group AR 1785 (July 3 - 11, 2013)

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) released video of Active Region 1785 - one of the largest sunspot groups this year, traveling across the Earth facing solar disk in period from July 3 - July 11, 2013. AR 1785 is now out of Earth view, moving onto

July 13, 2013

Launch of IRIS solar mission rescheduled to June 27, 2013

The launch of NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission is being delayed to June 27, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Live NASA Television launch coverage begins at 13:00 UTC (6 p.m. PDT).  Because of a

June 26, 2013

SOHO observes an amazing solar eclipse of Jupiter on June 19, 2013

On June 19, 2013 NASA`s SOHO coronagraphs observed an eclipse of Jupiter by the Sun, as the planet got directly behind the solar disk; being totally obscured. This event is a rare Jupiter solar conjunction, that happens only twice within Jupiter`s 12-year orbit around

June 19, 2013

New emerging sunspots raise chances of flares in the coming days

Solar activity is currently at very low levels. However, a group of new sunspots are emerging over the southeastern limb and the chance of flares is increasing with it. This new group is increasing the solar EUV flux absorbed in the Earth’s

June 16, 2013

Solar magnetism revealed by SDO

By combining different images of the Sun, taken almost at the same time on June 7, 2013, the underlying magnetic structure of the Sun and how it appears above the solar surface can be revealed. SDO engineers combined a magnetic image of the Sun, where darker and

June 12, 2013

Don’t miss this year’s annular solar eclipse on May 9/10

On May 9-10, the Moon will pass directly in front of the sun over the South Pacific, producing the first (annular) solar eclipse this year. At greatest eclipse, 95-98% of the sun’s surface will be covered. An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon eclipses the

May 09, 2013

Prominence eruption and CME on May 1, 2013 captured by SOHO, STEREO and SDO spacecrafts

On May 1, 2013, Active Region just around the left edge of the Sun erupted with a huge coronal mass ejection (CME). The video bellow shows combined imagery from NASA’s SDO, SOHO and STEREO heliophysics fleet. Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) provided a

May 07, 2013

Solar science meets art: Solar storm heading for Earth

ESA’s Space Science website released an unique portrait of a solar storm heading straight for Earth, based on data collected by the ESA/NASA SOHO space observatory during a coronal mass ejection. Imagery shows a huge cloud of magnetised plasma ejected

May 06, 2013

Annular solar eclipse on May 9/10, 2013

An annular solar eclipse will take place on May 9/10, 2013, with a magnitude of 0.9544. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the Sun for a

May 06, 2013

Solar watch – Huge prominence eruption May 1, 2013

A spectacular prominence eruption was observed on the Sun on May 1, 2013 at 02:30 UTC. The event was classified as a farside eruption from active region located beyond eastern limb. This was the largest such event in quite some time now. Powerful blast was unleashed

May 01, 2013

Solar Dynamics Observatory: Three Years of Sun in Three Minutes

In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun's rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle. This video

April 22, 2013