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. See:The Sun Erupts
An X1.4 class flare erupted from the center of the sun, peaking on July 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM EDT. It erupted from Active Region 1520 which rotated into view on July 6.
This video uses SDO AIA footage in 131(teal), 171(gold) and 335 (blue) angstrom wavelengths. Each wavelength shows different temperature plasma in the sun’s atmosphere. 171 shows 600,000 Kelvin plasma, 335 shows 2.5 million Kelvin plasma, and 131 shows 10 million Kelvin plasma.
This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11043