April 17 - NASA's space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has captured images of another spectacular solar flare arcing away from the Sun's surface millions of miles into space. Scientists say it was not directed at Earth and poses no danger, although it did produce an eye-popping video sequence. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE NASA scientists say the solar flare erupted from the Sun's surface at 1.45 edt (1745 gmt). Despite the spectacle is produced, they say it registered as a moderately powerful storm and was not the most powerful to be seen this year. The flare arced away from the Sun's eastern side, a region that may also be responsible for earlier solar activity. It produced an enormous eruption of magnetic plasma in what scientists call a coronal mass ejection. The Sun is currently in an active phase of its 11 year solar weather cycle and is expected to reach its peak activity in 2013. Scientists have the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to thank for such spectacular and close-up images. Launched by NASA on February 11, 2010, the SDO is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the Sun. It's equipped with a group of four, sophisticated telescopes which have allowed the observation and transmission of highly detailed images.. The observatory's mission in space is scheduled to last five years.