SDO EUV image of an X-class solar flare
Credit: NASA; SDO


The sun's been quiet for a long time, but slowly becoming more active. It's a good thing we have satellites like the Solar Dynamics Observatory to keep an eye on it. The image above shows a solar active region emitting a flare of extreme ultraviolet radiation, as captured by the EUV cameras on SDO. This powerful flare (a so-called "X-class" flare) generated a blast of high-energy radiation towards earth. Fortunately earthlings are protected from the harmful effects of this radiation by the warm blanket of earth's atmosphere. However, more exposed space-farers on the International Space Station, and robotic orbiting communication satellites, are more exposed. This flare also produced a Coronal Mass Ejection, an outburst of charged particles from the solar atmosphere. These ejections produce extremely strong aurorae, but this particular CME was not directed towards earth.
Published: August 15, 2011

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!
Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Saturday, 20-Aug-2011 09:51:27 EDT