Prelude to an X-Class solar flare

July 17, 2012 By Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
Caption: Shimmering coronal loops from Active Region 1515 on the limb of the Sun before it rotates out of view on July 12, 2012. Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Spaceflight Center

What takes place on the Sun before it unleashes a huge solar flare? It’s a thing of beauty, and observations from the Solar Dynamics Observatory are helping scientists understand how magnetic energy on the Sun creates these giant explosions. Below is a video that shows all the activity on the Sun before it emitted a huge X 1.4- class solar flare on July 12, 2012.

The shimmering coronal loops provide some magnetic magnificence that is simply stunning. The movie, created from data from SDO, shows the Sun from late July 8 to early July 10 shortly before the occurred. While the flare isn’t shown here, the movie shows how the Sun is constantly, and complexly, active.

The region responsible for the flare, Active Region 1520 is on the lower left part of the Sun, and it crackles with giant loops of magnetized solar material. On the right side of the Sun, the shimmering, enormous loops provide a parting view of Active Region 1515 – which was also responsible for many solar flares — as it disappears out of view along with the ’s rotation.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

There is a lot happening in this video, so take the advice of video producer Scott Wiessinger from Goddard Spaceflight Center’s Scientific Visualization Studio, who suggests watching it at highest quality and in full screen. You can download large files of it here.

Explore further: Rotating sunspots spin up a super solar flare

Related Stories

Rotating sunspots spin up a super solar flare

April 21, 2011

( -- The largest solar flare recorded in nearly five years was triggered by interactions between five rotating sunspots. Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire studied observations of the flaring ...

Moderate Labor Day solar flare eruption

September 7, 2011

At 9:35 PM ET on September 5, 2011, the sun emitted an Earth-directed M5.3 class flare as measured by the GOES satellite. The flare erupted from a region of the sun that appears close to dead center from Earth's perspective, ...

A 360 degree view of an X-class flare and a CME

November 8, 2011

( -- The sun sent out two different kinds of solar activity last night in different directions. One was an X 1.9 class flare that burst out from an active region on the sun, numbered AR1339, which just rounded ...

Sun releases a powerful X5 flare

March 7, 2012

Active Region 1429 unleashed an X5.4-class solar flare early this morning at 00:28 UT, as seen in this image by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (AIA 304). The eruption belched out a large coronal mass ejection (CME) ...

Space Image: Sunspots and solar flares

March 21, 2012

( -- NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this image of an M7.9 class flare on March 13, 2012 at 1:29 p.m. EDT. It is shown here in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength particularly good for seeing ...

The Sun blasts out an X1-Class solar flare

July 9, 2012

An active region on the Sun, AR1515, has been putting on quite a show over the last 8 days, sending out all sorts of solar flares. Scientists were sure the huge sunspot was building up to produce an X-class explosion, and ...

Recommended for you

What are white holes?

October 9, 2015

Black holes are created when stars die catastrophically in a supernova. So what in the universe is a white hole?

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

October 9, 2015

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of ...

Image: Pluto's blue sky

October 9, 2015

Pluto's haze layer shows its blue color in this picture taken by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn's moon ...

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.