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.

2006 December 4
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 an mpeg movie file.

Movie: The Active Sun
Credit: Solar Optical Telescope, Hinode Satellite, JAXA

Explanation: Plumes of hot gas shoot across the surface on even an average day on the Sun. Such volatile activity was captured in dramatic detail recently by the new Hinode satellite launched by Japan in late September. Near the horizon, active regions around a sunspot eject hot plasma along the magnetic field lines that connect the sunspot to surrounding regions in the solar atmosphere. Bright regions are hotter and more active. The bubbling granularity and continuous activity of the Sun's photosphere is visible in the foreground. This frame from the movie is in representative color and covers a solar region of about 8,000 kilometers. (Note: To download the full MPG movie file, click on the picture.)

Tomorrow's picture: ancient calculator

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Phil Newman; Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.