February 18, 2012
As if it could not make up its mind . . . darker, cooler plasma slid and shifted back and forth above the Sun's surface seen here for 30 hours (Feb. 7-8, 2012) in extreme ultraviolet light. An active region rotating into view provides a bright backdrop to the gyrating streams of plasma. The particles are being pulled this way and that by competing magnetic forces. They are tracking along strands of magnetic field lines. This kind of detailed solar observation with high-resolution frames and a four-minute cadence was not possible until SDO, which launched two years ago on Feb. 11, 2010. So it's our 2nd Anniversary!
Topics: Magnetism, Space plasmas, Plasma physics, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Magnetic field, Plasma, Sun, Astrophysics, Io