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See A Bubble Of Plasma Explode Across The Sun In Amazing Footage

It has been a pretty spectacular solar cycle so far.


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

Alfredo (he/him) has a PhD in Astrophysics on galaxy evolution and a Master's in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces.

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image in the extreme ultraviolet of a solar flare — as seen in the bright flash at the Sun’s lower center — on Oct. 28, 2021.

The moment the flare is about to happen (mid-lower portion of the Sun) as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on October 29, 2021.

Image credit: NASA/SDO

In December 2019, the Sun’s Solar Cycle 25 began, and it's been a lot more active than scientists predicted. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) has released a timelapse of this active cycle, including some of the most spectacular events that have taken place on the surface of the Sun.

Among the many observations from NOAA’s Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI), there is one from late October 2021. In it, an X-class flare (the most energetic type) explodes across the Sun. So far it has been the most powerful of the cycle and it caused a major radio blackout. However, it does not compare to some of the ones that have happened in the past.

Animated gif showing a bubble of plasma exploding from the sun.
This has been the most powerful flare of the cycle so far.
Image credit: NOAA

The images from SUVI give a better idea of the power of the event. Previous observations from the day showed the flash of light from the flare, but the NOAA image shows the aftershock expanding across the solar plasma. An absolutely enormous event.

Solar Cycle 25 might peak sooner than expected too, according to a new model challenging standard predictions, peaking in late 2024 instead of mid-2025. More extreme events are coming for sure. And there have already been so many incredible features on the Sun over the past few years: a peculiar polar vortex of plasma, sunspots so big that they are visible to the naked eye (but with solar glasses!), and a solar snake slithering across its surface.


spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy
  • tag
  • sun,

  • solar activity,

  • plasma,

  • Astronomy,

  • solar cycle,

  • solar cycle 25