Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dot


In recent days we have been seeing the first images from NASA's new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), now in orbit around the Earth and sending back the highest resolution images of the Sun ever achieved, such as this full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image taken on March 30, 2010 (click to enlarge). False colors trace different gas temperatures. Reds are relatively cool (about 60,000 C, or 100,000 F); blues and greens are hotter (greater than 1,000,000 C, or 1,800,000 F). I have added a black dot, in the middle of the huge flare at the upper left, to indicate the relative size of the Earth. This solar firestorm makes today's pic of Eyjafjallajokull -- below -- look puny indeed.