Living With a Star
Aug. 9, 2011 --
In April 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) opened its eyes for the first time. Since then, the spacecraft has revolutionized our understanding of the star on our cosmic doorstep.
Through the SDO's high definition view of the sun, solar mysteries have been solved and new mysteries have been revealed for the first time.
Today, as the sun ramps up in activity -- fast approaching solar maximum, predicted to occur in 2013 -- our nearest star has generated the largest explosive event since 2006: an X-class solar flare.
The "X7" flare reverberated through the inner solar system, causing a storm of high-energy protons to buzz around our planet, drenching our upper atmosphere in X-rays. Even though the flare was directed away from Earth, its impact was felt.
To commemorate the most energetic flare in five years, Discovery News has teamed up with Camilla Corona SDO (the SDO's famous mission mascot) to collect some of the SDO's most breathtaking photographs of the past few months.