The Sun Is More Than a Blob of Yellow | Science | Smithsonian

The Sun Is More Than a Blob of Yellow

We've got a lot of eyes on our Sun. No, not yours and mine (you shouldn't be looking directly at the Sun anyway). I mean the artificial eyes on cameras in spacecraft. The newest of those spacecraft is NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which began transmitting images to Earth earlier this week. The...

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We've got a lot of eyes on our Sun. No, not yours and mine (you shouldn't be looking directly at the Sun anyway). I mean the artificial eyes on cameras in spacecraft. The newest of those spacecraft is NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which began transmitting images to Earth earlier this week. The image above ( Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO AIA Team), which shows different temperatures in false colors ( reds are relatively cool—about 60,000 Kelvin, or 107,540 Fahrenheit; blues and greens are hotter—greater than 1 million K, or 1,799,540 F), was taken on March 30 by the SDO. A compilation of the new imagery, including video of a solar prominence, can be found below.





Scientists are using spacecraft like SDO to investigate how the Sun works. Though they understand how a star produces heat and light, solar dynamics are complex and still rather mysterious. That may worry some—the Sun's activity, after all, can have a huge effect on life on Earth—but I find it pretty amazing that one of the biggest mysteries in our universe is the object around which we revolve.





About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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