Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SDO on the Astronomy Picture of the Day

An very nice animation of SDO images for the month of January 2014 is featured on the Astronomy Picture of the Day for March 12, 2014. The images show the brighter active latitudes on either side of the equator, a coronal hole in the northern hemisphere, and filaments covering the disk of the Sun. In the HMI visible light image in the six-image montage you can see the sunspots that make up the active regions. The image is too small to see the faculae that go along with sunspots, but the latest HMI flattened image shows them quite well.

January's 31 days are a little longer than one solar rotation of 27.27 days. That means you see a part of the Sun that is just off limb at the beginning of the month a second time as that part of the Sun rotates back into view. Active region 11944 is present throughout the month in the southern hemisphere and reappears as AR 11967 at the end of the movie. AR 11946 grows in the northern hemisphere and will reappear as AR 11968. AR 11944 will also return as AR 11990 in late February. On February 25 it will be the location of an X-4.9 flare as it rotates back into view.

Long-lived active regions are a sign that solar maximum is here and starting to fade.

Check it out!