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NASA’s SDO Sees Tangled Connections

These images from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory, or SDO, show magnetically active regions on the sun on Jan. 8-9, 2016. When such regions are close-set, magnetic field lines create a tangle of arches snaking through the solar atmosphere. Those lines are visible in this movie because charged particles spin along them, emitting extreme ultraviolet light observable by SDO. Watch the movie to see how the magnetic field lines are constantly connecting, breaking apart, and reconnecting among the several active regions – a robust illustration of how our dynamic sun is constantly on the move.

Credits: NASA/SDO
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This video was captured in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths of 171 angstroms. Though typically invisible to our eyes, the extreme ultraviolet images are colorized here in gold.

Steele Hill and Sarah Frazier
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.