Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2024 May 28

Solar X Flare as Famous Active Region Returns
Video Credit: NASA, Solar Dynamics Observatory

Explanation: It's back. The famous active region on the Sun that created auroras visible around the Earth earlier this month has survived its rotation around the far side of the Sun -- and returned. Yesterday, as it was beginning to appear on the Earth-facing side, the region formerly labelled AR 3664 threw another major solar flare, again in the highest-energy X-class range. The featured video shows the emerging active region on the lower left, as it was captured by NASA's Earth-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory yesterday in ultraviolet light. The video is a time-lapse of the entire Sun rotating over 24 hours. Watch the lower-left region carefully at about the 1-second mark to see the powerful flare burst out. The energetic particles from that flare and associated CME are not expected to directly impact the Earth and trigger impressive auroras, but scientists will keep a close watch on this unusually active region over the next two weeks, as it faces the Earth, to see what develops.

Tomorrow's picture: stairway to …


< | Archive | Submissions | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Amber Straughn Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy, Accessibility, Notices;
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC,
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.