Featured Stories

  • In this SDO solar eclipse image the moon's shadow has been replaced by an actual moon image taken by LRO.

    The Moon and Sun: Two NASA Missions Join Images

    NASA visualizers overlay a 3-dimensional model of the moon based on data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter into the shadow of the moon during a lunar transit image from SDO.

  • composite SDO image of sun from April 2012-April 2013

    Three Years of SDO Images

    Since it first provided images of the sun in spring 2010, SDO has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun's rise toward solar maximum.

  • The view of the sun is partially obscured by Earth as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on Mar. 11, 2013, at 2:20 a.m. EDT.

    NASA's SDO Sees an Eclipse And a Transit

    On Mar. 11, 2013, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught a rare sight on camera: the sun with both Earth and the moon passing in front of it.

  • On July 19, 2012, an eruption occurred on the sun that produced 3 results; 1) a moderately powerful solar flare, 2) a CME and 3) coronal rain.

    SDO Shows A Little Rain On the Sun

    On July 19, 2012, the sun treated viewers to one of its dazzling magnetic displays -- a phenomenon known as coronal rain.

  • White lines represent magnetic field lines looping up out of the sun's surface in this image from SDO's HMI.

    Year Three: NASA SDO Mission Highlights

    In its third year in space, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has also offered several new, unexpected doors to scientific inquiry.

  • Captured by SDO on July 18, 2012, this image has been processed to highlight the edges of each loop and make the structure more clear.

    SDO Provides First Sightings of How a CME Forms

    On July 18, 20012, scientists used NASA's SDO to see for the first time the formation of something they had long known was at the heart of many eruptive events on the sun: a flux rope.

  • 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.

    Why NASA Observes the Sun in Different Wavelengths

    Specialized instruments in ground-based and space-based solar telescopes, observe light far beyond the ranges visible to the naked eye. Different wavelengths convey information about different components of the sun.

  • Ultra high-definition TVs – sold for the first time in late 2012 and early 2013 –have four times the pixels of a current high-definition TV, but still have fewer pixels than the images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

    NASA's SDO Has Plenty of Content for Ultra HD TVs

    A new kind of television made headlines at the 2013 annual Consumer Electronics Show in early January: Ultra High Definition TV. The TV needs content and NASA's SDO has four months worth of sun movies for them.

  • Six extreme UV images of our sun, from May 2010 to Sept. 2012, as seen by SDO, track the rising level of solar activity as the sun ascends toward the peak of the latest 11-year sunspot cycle.

    Solar Variability and Terrestrial Climate  →

    Researchers now realize even tiny solar variations can have a significant effect on Earth's terrestrial climate.

  • A gracefully solar eruption as seen by SDO on Dec. 31, 2012.

    Solar Ballet on the Sun

    NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this solar eruption on Dec. 31, 2012, as it rises and falls with the grace and polished movement of a ballet dancer.

  • Coronagraph image taken by SOHO shows an approaching comet.

    Sungrazing Comets as Solar Probes

    On Dec. 15, 2011, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured footage of Comet Lovejoy approaching the sun. The images and data collected by NASA's solar observing fleet can help scientists learn more about the sun itself.

  • Camilla, the rubber chicken and SDO mascot, poses in front of the KSC's Vehicle Assembly Building.

    NASA's Cure for a Common Phobia

    NASA has found a cure for a common phobia--the fear of asking 'stupid' questions. The cure is a rubber chicken named Camilla.

  • Left: The sun on Feb. 24, 2011 as observed by SDO.

    Heliophysics Nugget: Gradient Sun

    Science and art techniques are often quite similar, indeed each area often helps improve techniques in the other. One such case is a technique known as a 'gradient filter' used to examine fine structures on the sun.

  • During an eclipse, lack of heat from the sun causes the window in front of SDO’s HMI to change shape resulting in a blurry image (left). The right half shows HMI data at its usual high resolution

    Getting NASA's SDO into Focus

    From Sept. 6 to Sept. 29, 2012, NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory moved into its semi-annual eclipse season. It takes a little work to re-focus right after the eclipse.

  • SDO captured this eruption on Oct 4, 2012.

    Red Hot Solar Ballet

    NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this minor eruption on the sun on Oct 4, 2012 as it rises and falls with the grace and polished movement of a ballet dancer.

  • The faint oval hovering above the upper left limb of the sun in this picture is known as a coronal cavity.

    NASA's Solar Fleet Peers Into Coronal Cavities

    By understanding the morphology, density and temperature of coronal cavities scientists can better understand eruptions on the sun and the space weather that can disrupt technologies near Earth.

  • SDO is eclipsed by Earth twice annually. This image is from Sept. 6, 2012.

    SDO Enters Its Semiannual Eclipse Season

    Twice a year, for three weeks near the equinox, SDO moves into its eclipse season -- a time when Earth blocks its view of the sun for a period of time each day

  • Still from SDO/EVE calibration rocket launch.

    SDO/EVE Sounding Rocket Launches Successfully

    Based on the quicklook realtime data, all of the rocket EVE instrument channels appear to have made excellent solar EUV irradiance measurements.

  • TRACE image of Venus (black dot) during 2004 transit.

    SDO to Observe Venus Transit

    NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be watching the June 5, 2012 Venus Transit to help calibrate its instruments as well as to learn more about Venus's atmosphere.

  • Camilla, the rubber chicken, near the apex of her balloon flight.

    Rubber Chicken Flies into Solar Radiation Storm

    Last month, when the sun unleashed the most intense radiation storm since 2003, a group of high school students in California knew just what to do; launch a rubber chicken.

  • An SDO image captured on June 7, 2011, during which an eruption of solar material mushroomed up and fell down to what appeared to be nearly half the sun's surface.

    SDO Highlights On Its Second Anniversary

    Since SDO's first light in April, 2010, instruments on the spacecraft have continually observed the ever-changing sun on quiet days and explosive ones: observing over 1000 solar outbursts since its launch.

  • STEREO-B sees plumes turn to cells and back to plumes.

    SDO/STEREO Spot Something New On the Sun

    Scientists find giant plumes on the sun, newly named "coronal cells" that are over 18,000 miles across, looking like candlesticks on a birthday cake, and might help explain coronal holes.

  • The sun, rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise, as seen by SDO.

    SDO Goes For a Spin

    Twice a year engineers perform a 360 degree roll of the SDO spacecraft about the spacecraft-sun line. This roll maneuver allows the team to remove the instrument optical distortions from the solar limb.

  • Still from video of Moon passing between SDO and the sun.

    Partial Solar Eclipse from Space

    The Moon moves between the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite and the Sun, producing a partial solar eclipse from space.

  • Promotional image for

    The Sun As Art

    A new interactive NASA art exhibit opens February 9 at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore that will showcase stunning images of the sun.

  • Fast-moving protons from a solar energetic particle event cause interference that looks like snow in this image from SOHO.

    Classifying Solar Eruptions

    NOAA has devised categories for solar flares and storms. The biggest flares are known as 'X-class flares' based on a classification system that divides solar flares according to their strength.

  • SOHO coronographic image of sun grazing comet seen on July 5 and 6, 2011.

    Catching a Comet Death on Camera

    On July 6, 2011, a comet was caught doing something never seen before: die a scorching death as it flew too close to the sun. The chance to watch it first-hand amazed even the most seasoned comet watchers.

  • Screen capture from video of solar magnetic fields with inlaid image of HMI instrument.

    SDO Helps Measure Magnetic Fields on the Sun's Surface

    A subset of data that helps map out the sun's magnetic fields was recently released from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

  • Comet Lovejoy emerges out from behind the suns western limb.

    Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives

    An armada of spacecraft witnessed something that many experts thought impossible. Comet Lovejoy flew through the hot atmosphere of the sun and emerged intact.

  • On left Comet Lovejoy as it approaches the Sun.

    Comet Lovejoy -- Many Views

    Another view of Comet Lovejoy's solar approach taken by Hinode.

  • A still from the video shows a compilation of solar data from various instruments on SDO recording a flare on May 5, 2010.

    SDO Spots a Late Phase in Solar Flares

    Fifteen percent of the flares have a distinct "late phase flare" some minutes to hours later that has never before been observed. This late phase of the flare pumps much more energy out into space than previously realized.

  • False-colors in this still from a SOHO movie represent acoustic travel-time differences heralding a sunspot as it rises toward the sun's surface in October 2003.

    Sunspot Breakthrough

    Scientists detected several sunspot regions in the deep interior of the sun, 1-2 days before they appeared on the solar disc.

  • The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft captured this image of a solar flare -- the third most powerful ever observed in X-ray wavelengths -- as it erupted from the sun early on Tuesday, October 28, 2003.

    Solar Flares: What Does It Take to Be X-Class?

    Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high speed particles into space -- the biggest ones are known as X-class flares.

  • These jets, known as spicules (boxed), were captured in an SDO image on April 25, 2010.

    SDO Spots Extra Energy in the Sun's Corona

    Ripples in the sun's magnetic field called Alfven waves have been shown to carry more energy than previously thought, possibly enough to drive the intense heating of the corona and to speed the solar wind to 1.5 million mph.

  • On the left is the entire Sun as viewed by SDO in 193 Angstrom with area of interest highlighted. On the right are seven zoom-ins of the highlighted area in 2 minute intervals showing the formation of K-H waves in the solar corona.

    Surfing on the Sun, as seen by SDO

    Cue the surfing music. Scientists have spotted the iconic surfer's wave rolling through the atmosphere of the sun. More than just a nice photo-op, the waves hold clues as to how energy moves through that atmosphere.

  • SDO captured this nicely rounded prominence eruption from March 19, 2011 as a prominence became unstable and erupted into space with a distinct twisting motion. Prominences are elongated clouds of plasma that hover above the Sun's surface, tethered by magnetic forces.

    SDO First Light Anniversary Contest

    Voting Ends May 5, 2011.

    › Go Vote
  • A luminous column of white light follows SDO into the sky

    SDO Sundog Mystery

    NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), best known for cutting-edge images of the sun, has made a discovery right here on Earth.

  • A solar eruptive prominence as seen in extreme UV light on March 30, 2010 with Earth superimposed for a sense of scale.

    SDO Celebrates One Year Anniversary

    Project scientists discuss SDO's first year of science and collaboration with other Heliophysics System Observatory missions.

  • SDO image of the sun

    Hotspots Help Explain Coronal Heating Mystery

    Giant plumes of gas zooming up from the sun's surface at 150,000 mph may play a key role in heating its corona in excess of a million degrees.

  • SDO Eclipsing

    SDO Enters Fall Eclipse Season

    Eclipse periods are a normal part of life with a geosynchronous observatory.

  • Beauty shot of the SDO satellite

    SDO Reveals Large-Scale Effects of Solar Events

    NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, has allowed scientists for the first time to comprehensively view the dynamic nature of storms on the sun.

  • Liz Citrin still from SDO handover video

    NASA's SDO Begins Five-Year Mission of Discovery

    NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) passed a major milestone on May 14, when it completed its post-launch check out and officially began its five-year science mission to study the sun.

  • Screen capture from video taken by SDO of a massive solar eruption with coronal rain.

    SDO Observes Massive Eruption, Scorching Rain  →

    Just last week, scientists working with NASA's new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) released the most astonishing movies of the sun anyone had ever seen. Now, they're doing it again.

  • SDO image of sun in multiple wavelengths

    New Eye on the Sun Delivers Stunning First Images

    NASA's recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory is returning images that confirm its unprecedented capability to help scientists better understand our sun.

  • SDO First Light composite image from March 30, 2010.

    First Light for the Solar Dynamics Observatory  →

    At a press conference today in Washington, DC, researchers unveiled stunning "First Light" images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space telescope designed to study the sun.

  • Screen print from movie showing destruction of a sundog moments after launch.

    SDO Destroys a Sundog  →

    Moments after launch, SDO's Atlas V rocket flew past a sundog hanging suspended in the blue Florida sky and, with a rippling flurry of shock waves, destroyed it.

  • SDO at the pad

    SDO to Spike Vital Space Weather Data

    SDO is set to relay tons of data about the Sun and its affect on the Earth.

  • Dana Brewer

    Q and A with SDO Program Executive Dana Brewer

    Read through a question-and-answer session with SDO Program Executive Dana Brewer.

  • Artist's concept of the Sun, with cutaway showing Sun's interior and solar generation of space weather.

    SDO: The "Variable Sun" Mission  →

    Modern telescopes and spacecraft have penetrated the sun's blinding glare and found a maelstrom of unpredictable turmoil.

  • Illustration shows convoluted magnetic field lines extending out all over the sun

    SDO Investigates the Sun's Cycle of Highs and Lows

    The sun is a magnetic variable star that fluctuates on time scales ranging from a fraction of a second to billions of years. SDO will show us the underlying physics of solar variability.

  • The extreme ultraviolet (EUV) sun imaged by SOHO over one complete solar cycle

    EVE: Measuring the Sun's Hidden Variability

    To monitor energetic solar photons, NASA is going to launch a sensor named "EVE," short for EUV Variability Experiment, onboard SDO this winter.

  • Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)




    › Download Vodcast (154MB)
  • Photograph of the sun appearing blue, taken by an ultraviolet camera onboard NASA's STEREO spacecraft

    Avalanche! The Incredible Data Stream of SDO

    When NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) leaves Earth in November 2009 onboard an Atlas V rocket, the thunderous launch will trigger an avalanche...of data.

  • The truck carrying the SDO satellite arrived during a summertime thunderstorm's downpour.

    Solar Observatory Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

    NASA's upcoming mission to study the sun in unprecedented detail and its effects on Earth, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. on July 9.

  • Beauty shot of the SDO satellite

    What Lies inside the Sun?

    Now that the sun has calmed down, a bit, scientists have a rare opportunity to see more clearly into its mysterious interior.

  • Solar interior

    Jet Streams Suspected of Triggering Sunspots

    NASA plans to launch the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) later this year to understand how jet streams trigger sunspot production.

  • SDO spinning on the Miller Table in the Spacecraft Checkout and Integration Area at Goddard.

    SDO Spins Its Way Closer to Launch

    For three days, SDO sat on a slowly spinning "Miller Table" in the Spacecraft Checkout and Integration Area, a "clean room" at Goddard.

  • Engineers integrate the spacecraft and propulsion units of SDO.

    SDO Design Fosters Perfect Fit

    The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft bus was lowered onto the propulsion module, and it attached on the first try.

  • Artist concept of SDO probe

    SDO Mission to Improve Predictions of Violent Space Weather

    SDO will discover how the sun builds up and explosively releases magnetic energy, which powers severe space weather.