AIR SPACE

The sun's many faces

NASA's Specialized ground-based or space-based telescopes can observe a colorful array of light far beyond the ranges visible to the naked eye. And NASA pores over those pictures, each of which conveys a different piece of information about different components of the sun's surface and atmosphere, the agency recently said.

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This collage of solar images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows how observations of the sun in different wavelengths helps highlight different aspects of the sun's surface and atmosphere. (The collage also includes images from other SDO instruments that display magnetic and Doppler information.)
NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center

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This collage of solar images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows how observations of the sun in different wavelengths helps highlight different aspects of the sun's surface and atmosphere. (The collage also includes images from other SDO instruments that display magnetic and Doppler information.)
NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center

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Dopplergrams provide maps of velocity on the sun's surface. Solar Region: Photosphere.
NASA

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Magnetograms show maps of the magnetic field on the suns surface, with black showing magnetic field lines pointing away from Earth, and white showing magnetic field lines coming toward Earth. Solar Region: Photosphere.
NASA

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Continuums provide photographs of the solar surface, incorporating a broad range of visible light. Solar Region: Photosphere.
NASA

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Ultraviolet light continuum, shows the surface of the sun. As well as a layer of the sun's atmosphere called the chromosphere, which lies just above the photosphere and is where the temperature begins rising. Temperatures: 4500 Kelvin, Solar Region: Photosphere/Chromosphere.
NASA

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White light continuum showing the sun's surface or photosphere. Temperatures: 6000 Kelvin, Solar Region: Photosphere.
NASA

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Emitted by carbon-4 (C IV) at around 10,000 Kelvin. C IV at these temperatures is present in the upper photosphere and what's called the transition region, a region between the chromosphere and the upper most layer of the sun's atmosphere called the corona. The transition region is where the temperature rapidly rises. SDO images of this wavelength are typically colorized in dark yellow. Solar Region: Upper Photosphere/Transition Region.
NASA

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Emitted by helium-2 (He II) at around 50,000 Kelvin. This light is emitted from the chromosphere and transition region. SDO images of this wavelength are typically colorized in red. Solar Region: Transition Region/Chromasphere.
NASA

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Emitted by iron-9 (Fe IX) at around 600,000 Kelvin. This wavelength shows the quiet corona and coronal loops, and is typically colorized in gold. Solar Region: Upper Transition Region/Quiet Corona.
NASA

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Emitted by iron-12 (Fe XII) at 1,000,000 K and iron 24 (Fe XXIV) at 20,000,000 Kelvin. The former represents a slightly hotter region of the corona and the later represents the much hotter material of a solar flare. This wavelength is typically colorized in light brown. Solar Region: Corona/Flare Plasma.
NASA

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Emitted by iron-14 (Fe XIV) at temperatures of 2,000,000 Kelvin. These images show hotter, magnetically active regions in the sun's corona and are typically colorized in purple. Solar Region: Active Regions.
NASA

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Emitted by iron-16 (Fe XVI) at temperatures of 2,500,000 Kelvin. These images also show hotter, magnetically active regions in the corona, and are typically colorized in blue. Solar Region: Active Regions.
NASA

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Emitted by iron-18 (Fe XVIII) at temperatures of 6,000,000 Kelvin. Temperatures like this represent regions of the corona during a solar flare. The images are typically colorized in green. Solar Region: Flaring Regions.
NASA

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Emitted by iron-20 (Fe XX) and iron-23 (Fe XXIII) at temperatures greater than 10,000,000 Kelvin, representing the material in flares. The images are typically colorized in teal. Solar Region: Flaring Regions.
NASA

The sun's many faces

NASA's Specialized ground-based or space-based telescopes can observe a colorful array of light far beyond the ranges visible to the naked eye. And NASA pores over those pictures, each of which conveys a different piece of information about different components of the sun's surface and atmosphere, the agency recently said.

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