Below are a few false-color movies from two instruments on SDO: the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI), which takes images of the solar surface, or photosphere, and the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), which takes images of the solar atmosphere, or corona.
SDO can see partial solar eclipses from its home in
geosynchronous orbit some 26,000 miles above Earth. This particular
lunar transit shows the craggy lunar peaks against gossamer loops of plasma
in the lower solar atmosphere.
This movie shows simultaneously three temperatures in the solar corona, spanning more than two million degrees. Red is the hottest, and blue is the coldest. You can see a lot of activity: dark spots known as coronal holes, bright areas known as active regions, and rope-like structures known as filaments (or, if they are off the limb, prominences).
The dark, inner core of a sunspot, known as an umbra, contains an extremely strong magnetic field. These optical-light images of a sunspot, over the time span of several days, show a bridge of light creeping into the umbra and eventually splitting the single spot into two.
This movie shows the photospheric magnetic field data. The solar photosphere is inexplicably cooler than the corona; the surface is a mere 6,000 degrees as
opposed to millions of degrees in the atmosphere. Scientists generally agree that the magnetic field is a major part of the heating mechanism.