Friday, July 23, 2010

Sunspot 1089

Sunspot 1089 has grown so large, it can now be seen without the aid of a solar telescope. On July 21st, Gil Esquerdo "spotted it" as the sun set over Kitt Peak, Arizona:

Esquerdo was located on adjacent Mt. Hopkins. "Twice a year, the sun sets behind Kitt Peak as seen from the ridge on Mt. Hopkins and the Whipple Observatory," he says. "Our monsoon thunderstorms cooperated long enough for me to photograph the event."

Kitt Peak is home to more than a dozen world-class telescopes, and many of their silhouettes can be seen in Esquerdo's photo. Highlights include the triangular profile of the great McMath-Pierce solar telescope and the towering dome of the Mayall 4-meter telescope.

Caution: Although sunspot 1089 is large enough to see with the naked eye, looking for it is not recommended. Even when sunlight is dimmed by clouds and haze, you can still suffer permanent eye damage by staring too long at the unfiltered sun. Be careful.

Article republished from

Sunspot 1089 as seen from SDO:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


UPS Repair work is completed, and normal processing has resumed. Missing products will be available as soon as possible.

Monday, July 19, 2010

SDO Composite Movies

We have added a new addition to the SDO data browser. Starting on the 2010-07-16, the four composite images featured on the "Sun Now" page are being time stamped and archived on our site at a 15 minute cadence. These are available for browsing and downloading.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NASA Image of the Day

On July 11, 2010, the new moon passed directly in front of the sun, causing a total solar eclipse in the South Pacific. In this image, the solar eclipse is shown in gray and white from a photo provided by the Williams College Expedition to Easter Island and was embedded with an image of the sun's outer corona taken by the Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) on the SOHO spacecraft and shown in red false color.

LASCO uses a disk to blot out the bright sun and the inner corona so that the faint outer corona can be monitored and studied. Further, the dark silhouette of the moon was covered with an image of the sun taken in extreme ultraviolet light at about the same time by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The composite brings out the correlation of structures in the inner and outer corona.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Williams College Eclipse Expedition

SDO related videos from Discovery News

We found and would like to share a pair of back dated videos from Discovery News about SDO.

SDO Captures Eruptions on Sun

New high-definition footage from the Solar Dynamic Observatory shows coronal mass ejections, huge eruptions of plasma blasting into space before showering back down on the sun's surface. Discovery Space producer Ian O'Neill explains the phenomenon.

SDO Shines Light on Sun

NASA hopes the Solar Dynamic Observatory will turn its scientists into space weathermen. Discovery Channel?s Dave Mosher and Jorge Ribas learn more about the satellite that's set to launch in December.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Calibration Maneuver Days

Today and tomorrow there will be many blank images of the Sun as SDO does a series of calibration maneuvers designed to understand how the instruments work. The EVE cruciform maneuver is running today; tomorrow we run a few others for all three instrument. These maneuvers are used to track changes in the instruments as they sit in space. We will return to 24/7 data collection late tomorrow (July 15, 2010).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A new addition to "The Sun Now" page

We have added a new composite image to "The Sun Now" page. This composite image consists of the latest AIA 171 and the latest HMI magnetogram images. Sizes include: 4096, 2048, 1024, 512, and 256.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Solar Dynamics Observatory Mission Science and Education Featured at American Astronomical Society Meeting

By Laura Layton

Hot on the heels of the official commissioning of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), on May 17 at Goddard, the spacecraft has begun its science mission and is sending terabytes of data and stunning images to Earth each day.

SDO's images are revealing surprising new insights about how changes on the Sun affect us here on Earth, so it should come as no surprise that public and media interest in the SDO mission has been running at a fever pitch. Most recently, the SDO mission was featured at the 216th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the 2010 Solar Physics Division (SPD) Meeting, held jointly from May 23-27 in Miami, Fla. A number of SDO-related events took place that highlighted the mission’s first science results. Several education and outreach events also took place in conjunction with the meeting.

To read the rest of this article:
Goddard View Volume 6, Issue 5, Page 9

SDO Captures Arcing Active Solar Region in Profile

As the arcing loops above an active region began to rotate into a nice profile view, SDO captured the dynamic, magnetic struggles taking place below (July 6-8, 2010). Particles spiraling along magnetic field lines trace their paths. Magnetic forces in the active region are connecting, breaking apart, and reconnecting. These images were taken in extreme ultraviolet light. Although mostly hidden from our view, the active region did unleash a number of small flares. Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO.


Here are some articles on the web about this active region

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Check Out Our Images!

Now that the AIA and HMI data are flowing through the data system, you can look at images of the Sun and make movies of the Sun. Check out the SDO Browser at!

You can look at AIA images after May 20, 2010 and HMI magnetograms created after June 20, 2010. We are working to put the EVE SAM images we show on the Sun Now page into the movie database. Check out the enormous coronal hole in the northern hemisphere seen last week in AIA 193.


Monday, July 5, 2010

SDO on Science Friday

SDO was featured in a video on NPR's Science Friday website ( We described the Sun's magnetic field, the rise to Solar Cycle 24, and how SDO will help to understand the magnetic field. David Hathaway of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center was the guest on the show, discussing solar activity.

» Read the NPR Article.