Watch "Low Resolution Animation of the Sun Erupting July 2012"
Watch "High Resolution Animation of Sun Erupting"
Twelve years after the Earth was buffeted by one of the more potent Sun storms in modern history, our nearest star crackled with activity again. A solar flare erupted on July 12, 2012, followed closely by a companion coronal mass ejection (CME)—a cloud of magnetically charged particles and energy that can disturb Earth’s magnetic field, disrupt satellites and ground-based electronics, and provoke auroras.
The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured these views of the flare in the Sun’s southern hemisphere on July 12, 2012. The top, global image shows the Sun as viewed at 131 Angstroms; the lower, close-up view is 171 Angstroms. Both ultraviolet wavelengths help solar physicists study the fine magnetic structures in the Sun’s super-heated atmosphere, or corona. The yellow and teal are false colors chosen by the science team to distinguish between the spectral bands. Download the movies linked beneath each image to see the active region develop and erupt. Watch more video and read more story