Today’s Solar Flare

Flare20130411NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an M6.5 class flare at 07:16 UTC today. This image shows a combination of light in wavelengths of 13.1 and 17.1 nm. The M6.5 flare was associated with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME), a kind of solar event that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. CMEs can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground. NASA models show the CME leaving the sun at over 600 miles per second.

Image Credit: NASA

Flux Ropes of the Sun

solar_flaresThis is a picture of magnetic loops on the sun. It derived from data recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The image has been processed to highlight the edges of each loop so that their structure is more clear.

A series of loops such as this is called a flux rope. Flux ropes lie at the heart of eruptions on the sun known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs.) This image is a record of the first time astronomers were able to follow the timing of a flux rope’s formation. It was produced with data from 13.1 nm and 17.1 nm images of 19 July, 2012 flare and CME.

Image Credit: NASA