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29 September 2011

Looping Hot

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The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) caught this dramatic image of sunspot 1302 on September 28, 2011 with the Advanced Imaging Assembly (AIA). This sunspot has produced an x-class flare, two m-class flares and several CMEs since September 24. AIA takes images in 10 different light wavelengths. This one is shown in 171 Angstroms, typically colorized in yellow on SDO images. The thin, whispy lines are called coronal loops and they are made of hot solar material – charged particles called plasma – that collect around invisible magnetic fields looping up from the sun. The 171Angstrom wavelength is one of the best for looking at these coronal loops.

Credit: NASA/SDO