<p><strong>This psychedelic image of the <a href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/sun-article/">sun</a> from <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/">NASA</a>'s <a href="http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/">Solar Dynamics Observatory</a> is actually two pictures combined, both taken on July 12. It's also one of National Geographic News's favorite recent space images. </strong></p><p>By superimposing an extreme-ultraviolet image of arcing solar material on a "magnetogram" showing magnetic fields, scientists created a complex picture of an active region just before it unleashed a powerful solar flare.</p><p>According to NASA, such composite images help scientists better understand the origins and causes of the flares.</p><p>(See <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/05/120516-superflares-sun-stars-planets-hot-jupiters-nasa-space-science/">"Hundreds of Superflares Seen on Sunlike Stars."</a>)</p><p><em>—Kastalia Medrano</em></p>

Double Take

This psychedelic image of the sun from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is actually two pictures combined, both taken on July 12. It's also one of National Geographic News's favorite recent space images.

By superimposing an extreme-ultraviolet image of arcing solar material on a "magnetogram" showing magnetic fields, scientists created a complex picture of an active region just before it unleashed a powerful solar flare.

According to NASA, such composite images help scientists better understand the origins and causes of the flares.

(See "Hundreds of Superflares Seen on Sunlike Stars.")

—Kastalia Medrano

Image courtesy SDO/NASA

Space Pictures This Week: Retro Mars, Psychedelic Sun, More

Auroras shine over Antarctica, a celestial triangle takes shape, and Mars takes a retrograde trip in the week's best space pictures.

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