Surprising Sun Storm
A tempest swirls during the beginning of a large solar eruption, one of the first of the new sunspot cycle, on August 1.
Pictures of a series of eruptions that day—made possible by a new satellite—revealed for the first time that outbursts covering the entire sun can be connected.
(Related: "NASA Solar Observatory's First Shots.")
Though it started small, the eruption stunned scientists by quickly expanding to envelop much of the star. Scientists had previously known that intense solar activity could occur simultaneously on multiple sections of the sun, but the satellite's new capabilities have enabled researchers to see that these events aren't always coincidental. (See more pictures of solar eruptions.)
—Richard A. Lovett in San Francisco