Latest Sun Images

Click here to go to the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory page. Another excellent resource for current solar images is solarmonitor.org, found here.

This image was made from visible light and the features you see are roughly what you'd see if you viewed the Sun with no instrumentation (except for dimming of the image, of course). This view shows "sun spots" particularly well. Sun spots are cooler areas on the Sun's surface, made that way because of their reduced temperature. Try the close up views for some stunning detail.

close up view    super close

This image, called a magnetogram, shows the current magnetic field of the Sun. Sunspots are caused by the way the strong magnetic fields in the Sun impede energy flow in small areas, making them cooler than the surrounding area. You can often see a strong connection between the magnetic field and the size and arrangement of Sun spots - compare this image with the visible light image above.

Magnetograms show "line-of-sight" magnetic fields (that is, those either coming directly towards us or going away from us). The darkest areas are regions of "south" magnetic polarity (directed inward, or moving toward the center of the Sun) and the white regions "north" (outward directed, moving toward us) polarity.

close up view   super close

This view of the Sun was made from photons emitted by glowing Helium. It's a good way to see the eruptive features (known as solar prominences) visible on the edge of the Sun. Can you see gas features or loops in profile there today on the Sun's edge?

close up view   super close

Material is constantly being ejected from the Sun's surface into its atmosphere. Click here to see a very short film made of the largest mass ejection ever photographed. The event was recorded by telescopes at the High Altitude Observatory in Colorado.