Spectacular solar flare pic from NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this image of a "particularly large and complex sunspot" that fired off a pair of two M-class solar flares. The flares didn't include coronal mass ejections (so we're not all gonna die), but it does make for a very pretty picture, especially at 131 Angstroms.

"131 Angstroms" refers to the wavelength in which this image was taken. Filtering wavelengths helps to bring out different levels of detail in flares; 131 Angstrom (131 ten-billionths of a meter) highlights plasma in the temperature range of 10 million degrees Kelvin (which is close enough to 10 million degrees Celsius as makes no difference). The teal coloring of the image is just a conventional false color and doesn't reflect what the flare actually looks like (shame, that), but it does lend a rather nifty supernatural effect to the party.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory is up in orbit taking pics of the entire sun at once in many different wavelengths, not just specific solar flares in one single wavelength. Here's an obscenely large image of the entire face of sun (with the solar flare on the left), and you can find an even more obscenelier largerer picture here.

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Via NASA