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.

2010 April 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

SDO: The Extreme Ultraviolet Sun
Credit: NASA / Goddard / SDO AIA Team

Explanation: Don't panic, the Sun has not gone wild. But this wild-looking portrait of the nearest star to planet Earth was made on March 30th by the recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Shown in false-color, the composite view covers extreme ultraviolet wavelengths and traces hot plasma at temperatures approaching 1 million kelvins. At full resolution, SDO image data is intended to explore solar activity in unprecedented detail. In fact, SDO will send 1.5 terabytes of data back each day, equivalent to a daily download of about half a million MP3 songs. New SDO data releases include a high-resolution movie of the large, eruptive prominence seen along the solar limb at the upper left.

Tomorrow's picture: pointy galaxy

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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