//Our Sun, the nearest star to Earth.
These images were taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), during the Sun's 11 years solar cycle, since 2008.
Almost every 11 years, our star changes it's activity by changing the levels of solar radiation and ejection of solar material and it's appearance by changing the number and size of sunspots, flares and other manifestations. This phase is called "solar cycle", with "solar maximum" being in the highest of it's activity and solar minimum being the calmest.
In the pictures above we can spot the following:
▪An X1.8-class solar flare, 19 Dec. 2014 (picture 1)
▪An M7.9-class solar flare, 25 Jun. 2015 (picture 2)
▪An M-class solar flare, 1 Jan. 2014 (picture 3)
▪An M6.9-class solar flare, 18 Dec. 2014 (picture 4)
▪A C-class solar flare, 12 Jan. 2015 (picture 5) *X-class signify the most intense solar flares while the number provides data about its strength. For example an X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc. Also M-class flares are a 10th (1/10) of the size of the most intense ones, the X-class flares. The same here an M2 is twice as intense as an M1, etc.
Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched on 11 February 2010, in geosynchronous orbit, as a part of the "Living With A Star" (LWS) project, in order to understand the influence of the Sun on the Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space/time in many wavelengths (measured in Angstroms, Å) and to investigate how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured, how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.
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