Partial Solar Eclipse 8 21 2017 Front Page Graphic 02

All but one of the images below have been captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory's AIA instrument package and are loaded directly from the the NASA SDO data cache. As such they are the very latest images available to the public. Information on the images is displayed to the right. Click the thumbnail image to load a larger version.

Click here for more information on the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

All data courtesy NASA

AIA 193

AIA 193: This channel highlights the outer atmosphere of the Sun - called the corona - as well as hot flare plasma. Hot active regions, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections will appear bright here. The dark areas - called coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles.

Where: Corona and hot flare plasma
Wavelength: 193 angstroms (0.0000000193 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: 11 times ionized iron (Fe XII)
Characteristic temperature: 1.25 million K (2.25 million F)


AIA 304

AIA304: This channel is especially good at showing areas where cooler dense plumes of plasma (filaments and prominences) are located above the visible surface of the Sun. Many of these features either can't be seen or appear as dark lines in the other channels. The bright areas show places where the plasma has a high density.

Where: Upper chromosphere and lower transition region
Wavelength: 304 angstroms (0.0000000304 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: singly ionized helium (He II)
Characteristic temperature: 50,000 K (90,000 F)


AIA 171

AIA171: This channel is especially good at showing coronal loops - the arcs extending off of the Sun where plasma moves along magnetic field lines. The brightest spots seen here are locations where the magnetic field near the surface is exceptionally strong.

Where: Quiet corona and upper transition region
Wavelength: 171 angstroms (0.0000000171 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: 8 times ionized iron (Fe IX)
Characteristic temperature: 1 million K (1.8 million F)


AIA 211

AIA211: This channel (as well as AIA 335) highlights the active region of the outer atmosphere of the Sun - the corona. Active regions, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections will appear bright here. The dark areas - called coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles.

Where: Active regions of the corona
Wavelength: 211 angstroms (0.0000000211 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: 13 times ionized iron (Fe XIV)
Characteristic temperature: 2 million K (3.6 million F)


AIA 131

AIA131: This channel (as well as AIA094) is designed to study solar flares. It measures extremely hot temperatures around 10 million K (18 million F), as well as cool plasmas around 400,000 K (720,000 F). It can take images every 2 seconds (instead of 10) in a reduced field of view in order to look at flares in more detail.

Where: Flaring regions of the corona
Wavelength: 131 angstroms (0.0000000131 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: 20 and 7 times ionized iron (Fe VIII, Fe XXI)
Characteristic temperatures: 10 million K (18 million F)


AIA 335

AIA335: This channel (as well as AIA 211) highlights the active region of the outer atmosphere of the Sun - the corona. Active regions, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections will appear bright here. The dark areas - or coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles.

Where: Active regions of the corona
Wavelength: 335 angstroms (0.0000000335 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: 15 times ionized iron (Fe XVI)
Characteristic temperature: 2.8 million K (5 million F)


AIA 094

AIA094: This channel (as well as AIA 131) is designed to study solar flares. It measures extremely hot temperatures around 6 million Kelvin (10.8 million F). It can take images every 2 seconds (instead of 10) in a reduced field of view in order to look at flares in more detail.

Where: Flaring regions of the corona
Wavelength: 94 angstroms (0.0000000094 m) = Extreme Ultraviolet/soft X-rays
Primary ions seen: 17 times ionized iron (Fe XVIII)
Characteristic temperature: 6 million K (10.8 million F)


AIA 4500

AIA 4500: This channel shows the features that our eyes would see if we dim the Sun's intensely bright light. This wavelength of light is visible to people as blue-indigo, although here it is shown in yellow. Sunspots stand out sharply here, and you can also see that the edge of the Sun appears darker - a well-known effect called limb darkening.

Where: Photosphere
Wavelength: 4500 angstroms (0.00000045 m) = Visible (blue-indigo)
Primary ions seen: Continuum
Characteristic temperature: 6,000 K (11,000 F)


AIA 1600

AIA1600: This channel (as well as AIA 1700) often shows a web-like pattern of bright areas that highlight places where bundles of magnetic fields lines are concentrated. However, small areas with a lot of field lines will appear black, usually near sunspots and active regions.

Where: Transition region and upper photosphere
Wavelength: 1600 angstroms (0.00000016 m) = Far Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: thrice ionized carbon (C IV) and Continuum
Characteristic temperatures: 6,000 K (11,000 F), and 100,000 K (180,000 F)


AIA 1700

AIA1700: This channel (as well as AIA 1600) often shows a web-like pattern of bright areas that highlight places where bundles of magnetic fields lines are concentrated. However, small areas with a lot of field lines will appear black, usually near sunspots and active regions.

Where: Temperature minimum and photosphere
Wavelength: 1700 angstroms (0.00000017 m) = Far Ultraviolet
Primary ions seen: Continuum
Characteristic temperature: 6,000 K (11,000 F)


AIA Composite 211, 193, 171

AIA Composite 211, 193, 171: This image combines three images with different, but very similar, temperatures. The colors are assigned differently than in the single images. Here AIA 211 is red, AIA 193 is green, and AIA 171 is blue. Each highlights a different part of the corona.


AIA Composite 304, 211, 171

AIA Composite 304, 211, 171: This image combines three images with quite different temperatures. The colors are assigned differently than in the single images. Here AIA 304 is red (showing the chromosphere), AIA 211 is green (corona), and AIA 171 is dark blue (corona).


AIA Composite 094, 335, 193

AIA Composite 094, 335, 193: This image combines three images with different temperatures. Each image is assigned a color, and they are not the same used in the single images. Here AIA 094 is red, AIA 335 is green, and AIA 193 is blue. Each highlights a different part of the corona.


HMI Magnetogram: This image comes from HMI, another instrument on SDO. It shows the magnetic field directions near the surface of the Sun. White and black areas indicate opposite magnetic polarities, with white showing north (outward) polarity and black showing south (inward) polarity.

Where: Photosphere
Wavelength: 6173 angstroms (0.0000006173 m) = Visible (orange)
Primary ions seen: Neutral iron (Fe I)
Characteristic temperature: 6,000 K (11,000 F)

 

About the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

spacecraft

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us understand the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.

SDO's goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured, and how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.

SDO contains a suite of instruments that provide observations that will lead to a more complete understanding of the solar dynamics that drive variability in the Earth's environment. This set of instruments does the following:

  1. Measure the extreme ultraviolet spectral irradiance of the Sun at a rapid cadence
  2. Measure the Doppler shifts due to oscillation velocities over the entire visible disk
  3. Make high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible disk
  4. Make images of the chromosphere and inner corona at several temperatures at a rapid cadence
  5. Make those measurements over a significant portion of a solar cycle to capture the solar variations that may exist in different time periods of a solar cycle

SDO's Instruments are:

HMI

HMI (Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager)
The Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager extends the capabilities of the SOHO/MDI instrument with continual full-disk coverage at higher spatial resolution and new vector magnetogram capabilities. PI: Phil Scherrer, PI Institution: Stanford University.
View Stanford Instrument Site


AIA

AIA (Atmospheric Imaging Assembly)
The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly images the solar atmosphere in multiple wavelengths to link changes in the surface to interior changes. Data includes images of the Sun in 10 wavelengths every 10 seconds. PI: Alan Title, PI Institution: Lockheed Martin Solar Astrophysics Laboratory.
View Lockheed Martin instrument site


EVE

EVE (Extreme Ultraviolet Variablity Experiment)
The Extreme Ultraviolet Variablity Experiment measures the solar extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) irradiance with unprecedented spectral resolution, temporal cadence, and precision. EVE measures the solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectral irradiance to understand variations on the timescales which influence Earth's climate and near-Earth space. PI: Tom Woods, PI Institution: University of Colorado.
View Colorado instrument site

For more information about the SDO mission, visit the SDO website at http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

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