NASA captures a giant solar flare

I know this not really a gadgets story, but something this cool just has to be shared. NASA’s SDO spacecraft, designed to take extremely high-resolution images of our sun recently captured this incredible footage of a very large solar flare. Here’s the description from NASA:

When a rather large-sized (M 3.6 class) flare occurred near the edge of the Sun, it blew out a gorgeous, waving mass of erupting plasma that swirled and twisted over a 90-minute period (Feb. 24, 2011). This event was captured in extreme ultraviolet light by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft . Some of the material blew out into space and other portions fell back to the surface. Because SDO images are super-HD, we can zoom in on the action and still see exquisite details. And using a cadence of a frame taken every 24 seconds, the sense of motion is, by all appearances, seamless. Sit back and enjoy the jaw-dropping solar show.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thanks to Gizmodo for turning us on to it.

[NASA Goddard on Flickr via Gizmodo]



  1. mikekoz68

    An amazing picture! It doesn’t say what size the flare-up is exactly, but
    i’m guessing its larger than the earth-amazing!


    • Dorne Fyten

      As the sun is 864000 miles in diameter, yea the flare is bigger than the Earth, about 400000 to 500000 thousand miles long.


  2. James


    well, if the sun is several hundred times more wide (diameter) then the earth, then using pie, you can safely say a 1/12th angle shot like that is…


    for those of us not wanting to do the math, the flare was over 100 times wider then “earth” (diameter)

    being mostly “energized” plasma, the radio active cascade would have reduced the earth into atomic particles within one 24 second frame. (the speed of the pictures)


  3. simon sagar

    the question is did this flare have any effect on communications or other electrical systems on earth?


  4. BossHog

    OMG! That’s amazing. But what really amazes me is people who still don’t know the difference between “then” and “than”??

    Nothing is wider THEN anything else, but something can be wider THAN another thing . . .

    And to use it twice in the same sentence – GO BACK TO SCHOOL AND GET SOME REAL LEARNIN’ DONE – IDIOT! Oh, and “several hundred time MORE wide . . . ” ??

    C’mon, ever hear the word WIDER.

    If you want to know things about our Universe, and our Star, you had better smarten up. There’s nothing dumber THAN an IDIOT!


    • Simon Cohen

      Take it easy BossHog. Have you considered that maybe English is not James’s first language?


    • Dale Bawn

      WimpPig sounds off like or maybe is just an idiot. Enjoyed James comment and understood his point!Awesome video!


    • A Dog

      Did you not think for a second that maybe he or she first language isn’t english? Even if it was, who are you to call anyone out?


    • aliciapenney

      Why don’t you go back to school and learn some respect? Lose some weight and you might lose that horrible attitude. The person above was just posting their thoughts which are respectful at least. More than can be said for your comment.


  5. ThenThan

    First comes James, THEN comes BossHog…if you plan on ranting, perhaps you Mr. Hog, should learn some word definition.

    dumb =
    1.)not having the power of speech.
    2.)suffering from an inability to speak as a result of sickness, injury, etc.
    3.)silenced for the moment by fear, surprise, shyness, etc.

    idiot = a person born with little ability to learn; a person who does not develop mentally.

    While I don’t know James, judging by the simple fact of his comment and in that he figured out the mathmatics presented, I would venture a guess he is not an idiot either. He may be dumb (lack of speech) but not an idiot like BossHog is stupid…look it up.


    • luca

      Before dinner tonight, I will show my kids the clip of the solar flare and we will discuss the clip. I will use James
      view on trying to explain what they saw on the clip, Thank you James.

      Then after dinner, my 3 yr son will get out his Duke of Hazards General Lee car and will try to jump over BossHog


  6. BossHog

    Amazing how quickly a subject can be changed, isn’t it?

    Nothing personal . . . hell, I don’t even know James, and if I did, if he was my best friend, I’d still say the same thing, sans the idiot part.

    Sorry James – I didn’t mean it and I should’ve never said it . . . my apologies.

    I am just overly critical of (and a bit obsessed with) correct writing style and word usage.

    You see, I’m a writer, so you can understand how word usage would bother me . . .

    Sorry, no more judgements – no one is perfect, and I certainly don’t consider myself perfect – not by a long shot.


  7. BossHog

    Good point ThenThan!

    One would think with my obsession that I would’ve looked those up before ranting as I did, and so uncontrollably, too.

    Ok, I’m stupid. Sorry! And, I know what it means – I don’t have to look it up.

    So, has anyone seen the Sun today . . . :-)

    I apologize for the detraction from the original subject. I shouldn’t have let it bother me. I, too, am fascinated with our star and even subscribe to I even have SOHO images as screensavers.

    Am I forgiven yet? James? Do you forgive me? I am truly sorry . . . :-(


  8. BossHog

    That’s too funny luca! Good one!

    I hope he makes it, because there’s a lot to get over. He’ll need a whole lot a speed to get over the dough that you can’t kneed . . . :-)~


  9. BossHog

    I’m sorry, I forgot the most important rule in society; saying something, or even worse, writing something that cannot be taken back, something that I deeply regret.

    One of you said it – well, no, all of you said it in your own ways – I was rude, I was mean, I was a wimp, but most of all I was ignorant of my fellow man’s feelings.

    I feel terrible (and some, or all of you are saying; GOOD! You deserve it) and I do, but how can I make this right? How can I too have feelings and gain back a tiny portion of respect as a human being. How can I move forward knowing I have hurt someone, without considering first and foremost how it would make him feel?

    I do consider myself a good person, and now with this forever etched on my soul – I have learned a very important lesson here. I only hope that I can move forward with your forgiveness. I can forgive myself, because I have learned something extremely important here, and I can promise you that that too is forever etched on my soul – I will seek out your soul before I will ever speak of your foul.



    • Simon Cohen

      I for one forgive you BH – you’ve had the decency to apologize which is a rare thing these days. Good for you!


    • HogWild

      Your original rant, though rude as it was, definatly had merit. I notice this type of wrong word usage all the time. It bugs me. It bugs me to know that not only high school graduates but people with undergrad and higher degrees are making these mistakes but they don’t even know that they are making them. How does this happen? Have you noticed the lack of the word “of” in today’s english? A travesty, a travesty……

      Awesome solar flare video.


  10. BellSat

    Say bye bye to long range TV and satellite signals for a couple of days at least.
    Wonder wonder over a potential aurora display afterwards.


  11. Dave

    It may be pretty, but this is how our world is Gunna [for you BH] end.

    Y do u think NASA is taking pictures of it anyway? so we can all go, ooohhhh aaaahhhhh.
    The end is Nigh peeps.


  12. Mattie

    Dave – I agree that the sun will be the eventual demise of the earth. – However, it won’t happen for a while. NASA is taking pictures of the sun because they can, as in we now have the technology to do so. People have been looking at the sun since the dawn of time. It has been considered in all cultures as an awesome and powerful force, even the essence of life. It makes sense that when the technology progresses, we will do what we can to understand the almighty sun as much as we can.

    If the end is nigh, it will be brought about by humanity, the Earth’s greatest scourge (at the moment, anyways).

    And I have to do this:
    BossHog says:
    March 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    “That’s too funny luca! Good one!

    I hope he makes it, because there’s a lot to get over. He’ll need a whole lot a speed to get over the dough that you can’t kneed . . . :-)~”

    It’s knead.


  13. mommyx3

    I know we should be returning to the topic at hand and leave the grammar nitpicking aside, but I just had to tell you that I actually laughed out loud at the “knead, not kneed” comment, because I was thinking the same thing.

    I also agree with you about how we will inevitably bring about our own demise. The small possibility of our planet being destroyed by a solar flare seems insignificant when compared to the violence that we experience each day at the hands of our fellow men and women.

    Excellent post :D


  14. Scotonfire

    BH is a writer, that explains why he has so much time to troll the web, but how can you afford the Internet?