solar flareNASA has recently released a video collage from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). In the last year, the sun has gone from its quietest period in years (the solar minimum) to the activity marking the beginning of solar cycle 24. SDO has delivered incredible images of solar flares, eruptions of prominences, and the early stages of coronal mass ejections. This video demonstrates some of the most amazing events over the last year.

According to NASA’s website, in the order they appear in the video, the events are:

1. Prominence Eruption from AIA in 304 Angstroms on March 30, 2010
2. Cusp Flow from AIA in 171 Angstroms on February 14, 2011
3. Prominence Eruption from AIA in 304 Angstroms on February 25, 2011
4. Cusp Flow from AIA in 304 Angstroms on February 14, 2011
5. Merging Sunspots from HMI in Continuum on October 24-28, 2010
6. Prominence Eruption and active region from AIA in 304 Angstroms on April 30, 2010
7. Solar activity and plasma loops from AIA in 171 Angstroms on March 4-8, 2011
8. Flowing plasma from AIA in 304 Angstroms on April 19, 2010
9. Active regions from HMI in Magnetogram on March 10, 2011
10. Filament eruption from AIA in 304 Angstroms on December 6, 2010
11. CME start from AIA in 211 Angstroms on March 8, 2011
12. X2 flare from AIA in 304 Angstroms on February 15, 2011

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10748

I can’t help but wonder what we’ll discover in the future as our technology improves even further. Imagine what other stars look like? What about a red giant? White dwarf? Neutron star? Watching this video really puts things in perspective for me – I’ve watched it a dozen times, and can’t help but feel that our planet is just so tiny, so insignificant, compared to the complexities and magnitudes of our solar system, galaxy, and universe. I can only imagine what the video for Year 2 will comprise.