NASA's latest stunning images of sun (photos)

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is a sun-pointing semi-autonomous spacecraft that allows nearly continuous observations of the sun. Check out its latest snapshots.



Its mission is science, but since NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched in 2010, it's been sending some just-plain stunning images of the sun back to Earth. The SDO spacecraft is the first mission launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program, designed to understand the sun's influence on Earth.

Using Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, EUV Variability Experiment, and a Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, the semi-autonomous spacecraft gives scientists a nearly constant ability to watch our star.

Check out some of the latest colorful multiwavelength images returned this week from the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Chromosphere, Transition region. NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
This image taken by SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument at the 171 angstrom wavelength shows the current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the sun.
This image taken by SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument at the 171 angstrom wavelength shows the current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the sun. NASA/The Solar Dynamics Observatory
Composite image taken from SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument at the 211, 193, and 171 angstrom wavelengths.
Composite image taken from SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument at the 211, 193, and 171 angstrom wavelengths NASA/The Solar Dynamics Observatory
Image taken by SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument at the 94 angstrom wavelength.
Image taken by SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument at the 94 angstrom wavelength. NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory
This image was taken by SDOs Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument at the 4,500 angstrom wavelength, giving it a more realistic look to humans.  The human eye is sensitive to wavelengths from about 4,000 to 7,000 angstroms.
This image was taken by SDOs Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument at the 4,500 angstrom wavelength, giving it a more realistic look to humans. The human eye is sensitive to wavelengths from about 4,000 to 7,000 angstroms. NASA/Solar Dynamic Observatory
About the author

James Martin is the staff photographer at CNET News, covering the geeks and gadgets of Silicon Valley. When he's not live-blogging the latest product launches from Apple, Google, or Facebook, James can be found exploring NASA, probing robotics labs, and getting behind-the-scenes with some of the Bay Area's most innovative thinkers.

 

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