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On May 9, 2016, Mercury passed directly between the Sun and Earth, making a transit of the Sun. Mercury transits happen about 13 times each century. NASA's SDO studies the Sun 24/7 and captured the eight-hour event.
On May 9, 2016, Mercury passed directly between the Sun and Earth, making a transit of the Sun. Mercury transits happen about 13 times each century. NASA's SDO studies the Sun 24/7 and captured the eight-hour event.

Mercury Transit Across the Sun

A close-up of twisting plasma above the Sun's surface produced a nice display of turbulence by caused combative magnetic forces (June 7-8, 2016) over a day and a half as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A close-up of twisting plasma above the Sun's surface produced a nice display of turbulence by caused combative magnetic forces (June 7-8, 2016) over a day and a half as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Twisting Plasma

NASA's New Millennium Deep Space 1 spacecraft approaching the comet 19P/Borrelly.
NASA's New Millennium Deep Space 1 spacecraft approaching the comet 19P/Borrelly.

Deep Space 1 Using its Ion Engine (Artist's Concept)

A pair of substantial coronal holes were the most notable features on the Sun over the week of Mar. 28 - Apr. 2, 2015. The images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light by NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A pair of substantial coronal holes were the most notable features on the Sun over the week of Mar. 28 - Apr. 2, 2015. The images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light by NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Two Coronal Holes

This still image from an animation from NASA's GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows arches of magnetic field lines towered over the edge of the Sun as a pair of active regions began to rotate into view (Apr. 5-6, 2016).
This still image from an animation from NASA's GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows arches of magnetic field lines towered over the edge of the Sun as a pair of active regions began to rotate into view (Apr. 5-6, 2016).

Towering Arches

Flaring, active regions of our sun are highlighted in this image combining observations from several telescopes. During the observations, microflares went off, which are smaller versions of the larger flares that also erupt from the sun's surface.
Flaring, active regions of our sun are highlighted in this image combining observations from several telescopes. During the observations, microflares went off, which are smaller versions of the larger flares that also erupt from the sun's surface.

NuSTAR Stares at the Sun

This still image from an animation from NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows dark strands of plasma hovering above the Sun's surface beginning to interact with each other in a form of tug of war over two and a half days (June 28-30, 2015).
This still image from an animation from NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows dark strands of plasma hovering above the Sun's surface beginning to interact with each other in a form of tug of war over two and a half days (June 28-30, 2015).

Plasma Push and Pull

This side-by-side rendering of the Sun at the same time in two different wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light helps to visualize the differing features visible in each wavelength (Dec. 10-11, 2015). This image is from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory
This side-by-side rendering of the Sun at the same time in two different wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light helps to visualize the differing features visible in each wavelength (Dec. 10-11, 2015). This image is from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory

Comparing Wavelengths

X-rays stream off the sun in this first picture of the sun, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, taken by NuSTAR.
X-rays stream off the sun in this first picture of the sun, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, taken by NuSTAR.

Sun Shines in High-Energy X-rays

The structure of the Sun's corona shows well in this image from NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO).
The structure of the Sun's corona shows well in this image from NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO).

Full Disk Image of the Sun, March 26, 2007

An eruption from the surface of the sun is conspicuous in the lower left portion of this July 6, 2015, image from NASA's Earth-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
An eruption from the surface of the sun is conspicuous in the lower left portion of this July 6, 2015, image from NASA's Earth-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

Solar Activity Seen at Sunspot Site Tracked by Mars Rover

A small, but complex mass of plasma gyrated and spun about over the course of 40 hours above the surface of the Sun taken by NASA's GSFC Solar Dynamics Observatory on Sept. 1-3, 2015.
A small, but complex mass of plasma gyrated and spun about over the course of 40 hours above the surface of the Sun taken by NASA's GSFC Solar Dynamics Observatory on Sept. 1-3, 2015.

Tangled up in Blue

Sparked by a medium-sized (C-class) flare, a long, magnetic filament burst out from the Sun, producing one of the best shows that SDO has seen (Aug. 31, 2012).
Sparked by a medium-sized (C-class) flare, a long, magnetic filament burst out from the Sun, producing one of the best shows that SDO has seen (Aug. 31, 2012).

Magnificent Outburst

This artist's concept shows NASA's two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our sun.
This artist's concept shows NASA's two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our sun.

Voyagers in the Heliosheath (Cropped)

This still image from an animation from NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a single plume of plasma, many times taller than the diameter of Earth, spewing streams of particles for over two days (Aug. 17-19, 2015) before breaking apart.
This still image from an animation from NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a single plume of plasma, many times taller than the diameter of Earth, spewing streams of particles for over two days (Aug. 17-19, 2015) before breaking apart.

Eiffel Tower Plume

A large, dark coronal hole at the bottom of the Sun has been the most dominant feature this week (Jan. 29, 2014) as seen by NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A large, dark coronal hole at the bottom of the Sun has been the most dominant feature this week (Jan. 29, 2014) as seen by NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Substantial Coronal Hole

This composite image combines NASA's Extreme Ultravoilet Imaging Telescope images from three wavelengths into one that reveals solar features unique to each wavelength.
This composite image combines NASA's Extreme Ultravoilet Imaging Telescope images from three wavelengths into one that reveals solar features unique to each wavelength.

Color Composite of Solar Features

Three substantial coronal holes rotated across the face of the Sun the week of Sept. 8-10, 2015 as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Coronal holes are areas where the Sun's magnetic field is open and a source of streaming solar wind.
Three substantial coronal holes rotated across the face of the Sun the week of Sept. 8-10, 2015 as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Coronal holes are areas where the Sun's magnetic field is open and a source of streaming solar wind.

A Triumvirate: Three Coronal Holes

This still image from an animation from NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows magnetically charged particles forming a nicely symmetrical arch at the edge of the Sun as they followed the magnetic field lines of an active region (Aug.4-5, 2015).
This still image from an animation from NASA GSFC's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows magnetically charged particles forming a nicely symmetrical arch at the edge of the Sun as they followed the magnetic field lines of an active region (Aug.4-5, 2015).

A Golden Arch

NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) satellites have provided the first three-dimensional images of the Sun. The structure of the corona shows well in this image.
NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) satellites have provided the first three-dimensional images of the Sun. The structure of the corona shows well in this image.

Full Disk Image of the Sun, March 26, 2007 (Anaglyph)

The structure of the Sun's corona shows well in this image from NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) satellite.
The structure of the Sun's corona shows well in this image from NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) satellite.

Close-up View of an Active Region of the Sun, March 23, 2007

A substantial coronal hole had rotated so that it temporarily faced right towards Earth (May, 17-19, 2016). This coronal hole area is the dark area at the top center of this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A substantial coronal hole had rotated so that it temporarily faced right towards Earth (May, 17-19, 2016). This coronal hole area is the dark area at the top center of this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Coronal Hole Front and Center

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a long coronal hole has rotated so that was temporarily facing right towards Earth (Mar. 23-25, 2016). Coronal holes appear dark when viewed in some wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a long coronal hole has rotated so that was temporarily facing right towards Earth (Mar. 23-25, 2016). Coronal holes appear dark when viewed in some wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.

Elongated Coronal Hole

The magnetic field lines of three active regions in close proximity to one another interacted with each other over two and a half days (Feb. 8-10, 2016). This image is from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
The magnetic field lines of three active regions in close proximity to one another interacted with each other over two and a half days (Feb. 8-10, 2016). This image is from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Solar Triumvirate

NASA's Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope aboard ESA's SOHO spacecraft took this image of a huge, handle-shaped prominence in 1999. Prominences are huge clouds of relatively cool dense plasma suspended in the Sun's hot, thin corona.
NASA's Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope aboard ESA's SOHO spacecraft took this image of a huge, handle-shaped prominence in 1999. Prominences are huge clouds of relatively cool dense plasma suspended in the Sun's hot, thin corona.

Handle-shaped Prominence

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