Sunday, February 12, 2023

Happy Launch Anniversary to SDO!

SDO was launched into orbit 13 years ago yesterday, at 10:23 am ET on 11 Feb 2010. Thirteen years and millions of observations later, SDO is still producing excellent solar data. It is hard to pick out a favorite sequence of SDO data. But the Sun did provide us with a nice filament eruption a few days ago as an early anniversary present. If you look in the northern polar regions of this combined AIA 211 Å (red), 193 Å (green), and 171 Å (blue) video, you can see the dark filament rising up and breaking apart. It appears to include one of the magnetic vortices we saw in the last Solar Cycle.

These polar filaments are a key part of removing the previous cycle's magnetic field from the poles of the Sun. As Solar Cycle 25 field erupts near the equator, some of it moves towards the poles where it meets the last remaining magnetic field of Solar Cycle 24. The fields tend to have opposite directions and they form a filament where they meet. This filament will circle the pole. Some of the oddity in this movie is seeing the plasma move around the pole in both directions.

The Sun will continue to surprise us, in SDO's 13th year and probably for many years to come.

I would like to thank the people who built and launched SDO, it has been an amazing observatory. I congratulate the people who run SDO on keeping this fantastic tool on station and performing great!

SDO is GO!