<p>A composite picture shows what the sun's atmosphere looked like on Wednesday, as seen in three different wavelengths of light. The picture—assembled from shots taken by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument aboard <a id="d_76" title="NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory" href="http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/">NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory</a>—includes a model of what the sun's magnetic field lines looked like at the time.<br><br> One of three main instruments on the orbiting observatory, the AIA takes pictures of the sun in ten wavelengths every ten seconds. Overlaying several such images can show how magnetic events, such as prominence eruptions and coronal mass ejections, generate motion across the solar orb. <br><br> (Also see the <a id="a1v1" title="sharpest picture of a sunspot yet taken in visible light" href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/08/photogalleries/100830-sunspot-sun-space-sharpest-view-pictures/">sharpest picture of a sunspot yet taken in visible light</a>.)</p>

Solar Magnetism

A composite picture shows what the sun's atmosphere looked like on Wednesday, as seen in three different wavelengths of light. The picture—assembled from shots taken by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument aboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory—includes a model of what the sun's magnetic field lines looked like at the time.

One of three main instruments on the orbiting observatory, the AIA takes pictures of the sun in ten wavelengths every ten seconds. Overlaying several such images can show how magnetic events, such as prominence eruptions and coronal mass ejections, generate motion across the solar orb.

(Also see the sharpest picture of a sunspot yet taken in visible light.)

Image courtesy SDO/NASA

Space Photos This Week: Rocket Test, Tropical Storm, More

The world's strongest solid rocket motor revs up, a star nursery is seen in its sharpest view yet, and more in this week's best space pictures.

Read This Next

An ambitious new Florida trail links two U.S. national parks
How reading the night sky helped Black Americans survive
Does a woman’s fertility really plummet at age 35?

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet