Our sun let out a mid-level solar flare yesterday, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of it in multiple wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.
The flare peaked at 6:34pm EDT on March 12th. As a mid-level flare, it's an M9.3, just short of the more intense X-class naming scheme. This is breaking news (oooh!), so TBA if it was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection or not. The composite image of all the wavelengths layered together is also gorgeous:
As with all Solar Dynamics Observatory images, different wavelengths are colour-coded to explore different aspects of our sun:
- Red is coded to the highest wavelength in this set, at 304Å. It's also the coolest temperature for this particular — only 50,000 Kelvin (or 497,26 Celsius if you insist on common temperature scales). This corresponds to the transition region and chromosphere of the sun, with ionized helium putting on a show.
- Gold is reserved for the 171Å. At around 600,000 Kelvin, light is emitted by ionized iron-9. It's generally the upper transition region, a fairly quiet corona with not much activity most days.
- Teal continues up the heating scale to the hottest temperatures recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory at 10,000,000 Kelvin. That's the ionization temperature for iron-20 and iron-23, and a perfect way to monitor those hot, hot solar flares.