The Sciences

Calm Sun, Vigorous Sun — Side-by-Side

ImaGeo iconImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanJun 25, 2013 8:29 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Side-by-side videos from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory comparing solar activity in 2010 and 2013. This is a screenshot, so please click on the image to watch the videos. (Video: NASA SDO) Since bottoming out in 2009 as part of an 11-year cycle, activity on the sun has been heading for a peak. These side-by-side videos from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory show just what a difference a couple of years can make. This is a screenshot, so please click on the image to watch the videos, which run simultaneously in the same frame. The video on the left is from October, 2010, when activity was very low; the one on the right is from just last month. Both are seen in extreme ultraviolet light, and both show solar activity for one month. Last month, the sun's surface was animated by many bright areas, with loops arcing above them. By comparison, not much was going on back in 2010. The SDO Facebook page features regular updates on solar activity, sometimes before they appear on the regular NASA SDO website. I recommend it highly. Lastly, here's a graph tracking the progress of the sun's 11-year cycle from the Space Weather Prediction Center:

Graph: Space Weather Prediction Center As the graph shows, we're getting close to the time predicted for the peak in solar activity. It should come by the end of this year, or early next.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.