The Sun in Another Light

The Sun, stars, nebulae, galaxies, planets; We can see them all from our lonely cosmic address, but not all is revealed in the light our eyes see.  We need to look at the entire electromagnetic spectrum to understand the range of objects we see in the universe.  Our closest star shows us how different it can look when you change the observed wavelength.

High-energy X-rays from NuSTAR are shown in blue; low-energy X-rays from Hinode are green; and extreme UV light from SDO is yellow and red. All three telescopes captured their solar images around the same time on April 29, 2015. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / GSFC / JAXA.

In high energy ultraviolet and X-ray light we can see the most powerful sunspots emitting their bursts of radiation and the swirls of solar plasma releasing ultraviolet energy in all directions.  We still have a few years until the Sun quiets down a bit in terms of activity, but when it does, these wavelengths of light will reveal microflares in the surface of the sun and give us a new perspective on how the Sun behaves on its strange eleven year cycle.

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