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Current Solar Images

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SXI X-rays and NOAA Active Regions
Includes information on active regions and solar activity from the Global H-alpha Network, Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), GONG+, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
sun picture thumbnail
Current solar images (NASA)
Current solar images and links to resources for solar imagery. logo is an open-source project for the visualization of solar and heliospheric data. It has an easy to use interface which allows you to zoom, superimpose image layers, set layer opacity, and search earlier images by date.
Tricolor Sun
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft is the great solar observatory orbiting the Sun. A joint mission between NASA and ESA (the European Space Agency), SOHO's 12 instruments capture images of the Sun in a variety of "colors", from visible white light to the extreme ultraviolet. On the SOHO homepage you can find breaking news, hot shots of awesome current phenomena, a Weekly Pick image, and special features.
White Light
White Light
A current image of the Sun taken in "white," or visible, light. For reasons unknown, this image has been artificially colored orange even though light from the Sun is actually white, the "color" that results when all other colors are combined.
This image shows the current "farside", or backside, of the Sun. Obviously we cannot directly see the back, but scientists who study how sound travels within the Sun can find out where there might be active magnetic regions. Thus they can locate sunspots that may be rotating into view within a few days. For information on how these images are obtained, see Magnetic Maps of the Whole Sun.
stereo image
This page shows a side-by-side comparison between the most recent STEREO beacon image, GONG far-side map, and SOHO MDI farside map.
Magnetic Fields
Storms on the Sun are caused by disturbances to its complex magnetic fields. These "magnetograms," taken by the MDI instrument on SOHO, detect the strength and location of the magnetic fields on the Sun. Magnetograms show "line-of-sight" magnetic fields -- that is, those either coming directly towards us or going away from us. The black are regions of "south" magnetic polarity (inward directed, or moving toward the center of the Sun) and the white regions "north" (outward directed, moving toward us) polarity. Grey areas indicate that there is no magnetic field at all. (Any colors could have been chosen; the grey-black-white is just a common convention, or choice.) For more information about magnetograms, see The Sun -- a Magnetic Star".
Synoptic Chart
Latest synoptic charts
Animated Sun
A collection of solar images, strung together in an animation.

Image Credits: Blue EIT image -- EIT instrument on SOHO spacecraft; Multicolor sun -- SOHO spacecraft; Orange sun -- MDI instrument on SOHO spacecraft; Farside image -- SOI group at Stanford University & SOHO spacecraft; magnetogram -- MDI instrumnet on SOHO spacecraft; h-alpha image -- Big Bear Observatory; animated Sun -- animation by Hao Thai based on SOHO data.

The SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is a mission of international cooperation between ESA (the European Space Agency) and NASA.

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