Smiling Sun, courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams
According to one of NASA’s Twitter sites, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recently caught the Sun “smiling.” Viewed in ultraviolet light the coronal holes, dark patches on the Sun, are regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) Program mission to be launched which is a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and how it affects Earth:
“SDO is designed to help us understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.
SDO’s goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity’s technological systems by determining how the Sun’s magnetic field is generated and structured how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.”