Archive for March, 2012

Where is the Solar Dynamics Observatory right now?

It’s here.

Why does the orbit have this shape? It’s because SDO takes so many large images that it has to have its own ground station to receive all that data (around 1.5 TB/day). In order to keep the flow of data running off the spacecraft, its geosynchronous orbit was designed to maintain contact with the ground station. For more detail, please go to

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User highlight: back-sided eruption appears to cause a front-sided eruption and YouTube user danielchangck found this event:

What happened? Well, there was an eruption on the back side of the Sun, that caused a propagating disturbance in the solar atmosphere. that appears to have triggered a prominence lift-off on the front-side of the Sun. This is a great example of how the high cadence, continuous observations from Solar Dynamics Observatory give us a much better view of how distant parts of the Sun can physically influence each other. We liked this event so much we made and uploaded some movies of our own. The lower cadence of these movies allows you to see the swaying of coronal material in response to the disturbance from the initial eruption.

Thanks to danielchangck for sharing this movie with other users of

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Spiralling eruption close to the south pole

A colleague who works with LASCO data yesterday found this lovely spiralling eruption close to the south pole.

It’s a great example of how the magnetic field can influence the dynamics of erupting plasma. The eruption starts around 00:13 in the above video.

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Spotted: another coronal cavity

YouTube and user sedge2002 found another coronal cavity. This one was on the Sun late 2011 to early 2012. It appears towards the end of this movie, at around 30-45 degrees clockwise from the north pole of Sun, above the limb:

Thanks to sedge2002 for making this movie and sharing it with other users of As the movie demonstrates, coronal cavities do occur, and so the one you may have earlier in the week, whilst a great example of a coronal cavity, is definitely not unique. What is a coronal cavity? Let Dr. Alex Young of the The Sun Today tell you:

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Server Maintenance: Thursday, March 15 (14:00-16:00 UT) and JHelioviewer will be unavailable on Thursday, March 15 from approximately 14:00UT – 16:00UT for planned server maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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The Sun Today: Double Blast – Exciting Space Weather from AR11429

Dr. Alex Young over at The Sun Today posted a really nice video describing the multiple flares and CMEs from this morning. Definitely worth a watch if you want to know what is going on during the eruptions and the impact it is having on Earth.


Update 2012/03/07

Here are a couple more related videos from LittleSDO:

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