It was a quiet day on the Sun in September of 2000. The above image from NASA's sun-observing TRACE spacecraft shows, however, that even during "off days" the Sun's surface is a busy place. Shown in ultraviolet light, the relatively cool dark regions have temperatures of thousands of degrees.
A large sunspot group is visible as the bright area near the horizon. The bright glowing gas flowing around the sunspots has a temperature of over one million degrees Celsius (1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit). The high temperatures are thought to be related to the rapidly changing magnetic field loops that channel solar plasma.
Photo Credit: NASA/TRACE via Astronomy Picture of the Day.
+ Larger Image