With Frantic Splurts and Splats, the Sun Goes All Spasmodic

By Tom Yulsman | April 29, 2014 3:47 pm

NASA posted this video today of the Sun, and I just had to share it. After watching it, I’m thinking the Sun needs to chill a bit.

Okay, on second thought, maybe that’s a bad idea…

Sun goes spasmodic

An active region on the Sun. (Source: SDO/NASA)

In all seriousness, this video of the Sun going all spasmodic consists of images taken in extreme ultraviolet light by the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows an active region — an area where the sun’s magnetic field is particularly strong — spurting and erupting over the course of two and a half days, starting in April 19.  Active regions frequently produce solar flares and coronal mass ejections. (For a closeup still image of the frantic activity, click on the thumbnail at right.)

As NASA puts it, “All of the activity near this region was caused by intense magnetic forces in a powerful struggling with each other.”

I would have said “struggle,” but I don’t know. Maybe “struggling” conveys the freneticism even better.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: select, Solar System, Sun, Top Posts
  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Longmire

    Hard to believe there’s a place called hell, with that as the sustainer of earth.

    • Amisa Neonova

      Maybe that is Hell?

  • John Wyscaver

    add some dramatic music & its good to go lol

  • Stacie Childress

    I wounder if the Galactic alignment has anything to do with it.

  • NerinaPistorius

    That is quite scary to think that the sun is burning out each and every day. Do you think that the reason for the world to end one day will be the sun?

    • Andrew

      It is an inevitable process, in 1.1 billion years time the Sun will be 10% brighter than it is today, by 3.5 billion years time 40% brighter, the oceans will boil and ice caps will be past tense. In 5 billion years our Sun will expand to a red giant and become an asymptotic giant branch star 1AU in size. Us Earthlings will fly higher until we reach the stars, for it is our collective destiny! :)

  • Γιάννης Βαλσαμίδης

    Is that normal and usual ? The rate of this activity and intensity I mean ?

    • Tom Yulsman

      It is surely a spectacle — one made even more dramatic by the closeup view of the action provided by the Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. But it is not really all that unusual. Keep in mind that the sun is at or near the peak of its cyclical activity. So increased flaring, ejection of material, etc. is par for the course.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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