Sun NASA Videos

Anatomy of a CME
Animation depicts a coronal mass ejection, an explosion of the Sun's atmosphere than can affect satellites, cell phones, and other aspects of life on Earth.

Big Sunspot Remains Active
This is the sunspot region AR 1429 that has generated several major solar storms recently. The video covers nine days (Mar. 4 - 12, 2011). Notice how the spot continually changes as its magnetic fields realign themselves. The images are white light images called intensitygrams captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

Fermi Detects Solar Flare's Gamma Rays
During a powerful solar blast in March, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected the highest-energy light ever associated with an eruption on the sun. The discovery heralds Fermi's new role as a solar observatory, a powerful new tool for understanding solar outbursts during the sun's maximum period of activity.

First X-Class Flares of 2013
On May 12-13, 2013, the sun erupted with an X1.7-class and an X2.8-class flare, as well as two coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, off the upper left side of the sun. Solar material also danced and blew off the sun in what’s called a prominence eruption on the lower right side of the sun. This movie compiles imagery of this activity from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and from NASA and the European Space Agency's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

Giant Prominence Erupts - April 16, 2012
A prominence shots off the left side of the sun in association with an M1 class flare that was not Earth-directed.

GOES Weather Satellite Watches The Sun
NASA satellites such as STEREO, SOHO, and SDO are dedicated to studying the sun. GOES is a weather satellite but also watches the sun constantly. Watch this video and learn why space weather data is so important for every day life here on Earth.

Gradient Sun
Using a gradient filter on imagery captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) helped create this stunning display of sharply defined coronal loops on the sun next to fuzzier, cooler areas that are sometimes referred to as 'moss' due to their moss-like appearance. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Introduction to Heliophysics
This short overview for NASA's Heliophysics division explains how NASA studies the sun -- and more importantly, how it affects our daily lives.

Intro to Space Weather Vocabulary
Heliophysics research studies how energy and material from the sun affects Earth and the entire solar system. It’s a complex system that begins on the sun when events on the sun, such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections, travel out into space. These cause electromagnetic effects that drive space weather close to Earth -- from aurora to radio blackouts to changes in the radiation belts surrounding Earth. Scientists study the minutiae of how energy transfers from one event to the other and which electromagnetic waves create which conditions near Earth. Since space weather effects can disrupt satellites in space, scientists need to understand the system in even more detail. Watch the video to see how events on the sun affect Earth. Suitable for all ages, this intro to space weather covers vocabulary like coronal mass ejection (CME), solar wind, and solar flare. It also outlines potential effects of solar storms on our planet.

NASA's Solar Fleet Sees Massive Filament Erupt on Sun
A long filament erupted on the sun on August 31, 2012, shown here in a movie captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) from noon EDT to 1:45 a.m. the next morning. The filament lies in the lower left corner of the sun. The movie shows light at 304 Angstroms and 171 Angstroms, both of which help scientists observe the sun's atmosphere, or corona. STEREO and SOHO were witness to the associated coronal mass ejection (CME) and their views are shown, as well.

Our Dynamic Sun
Starting with the discovery of sunspots by Galileo in 1609, we have continued to study the Sun.

Raining Loops on the Sun
On July 19, 2012, an eruption occurred on the sun that produced a moderately powerful solar flare and a dazzling magnetic display known as coronal rain. Hot plasma in the corona cooled and condensed along strong magnetic fields in the region. Magnetic fields, are invisible, but the charged plasma is forced to move along the lines, showing up brightly in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 304 Angstroms, and outlining the fields as it slowly falls back to the solar surface. Music: 'Thunderbolt' by Lars Leonhard, courtesy of artist.

RBSP- Studying the Sun's Influence on Earth
Two wide rings of high-intensity particles encircle our planet's equator. Known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts, their behavior in response to the sun directly impacts life on Earth and in orbit. NASA's two-year Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission aims to study this ever-changing space environment in greater detail than ever before.

Red Hot Solar Ballet
This minor eruption rises and falls with the grace and polished movement of a ballet dancer (Oct. 4, 2012). The close-up video at just about full resolution captures the event in extreme ultraviolet light, 304 wavelength, with this 2.5-hour observation. Most of the particles do not have enough momentum to break away into space and are pulled down again into the Sun.

Scientists Answer Top Space Weather Questions Pt 1
NASA scientists answer some common questions about the sun, space weather, and how they affect the Earth. This is part one of a two-part series. It addresses: 1. What is space weather? 2. What are coronal mass ejections? 3. What are solar flares? 4. What are solar energetic particles? 5. What causes flares and CMEs?

Scientists Answer Top Space Weather Questions Pt 2
NASA scientists answer some common questions about the sun, space weather, and how they affect the Earth. This is part two of a two-part series. It addresses: 1. Do all flares and CMEs affect the Earth? 2. What happens when a flare or CME hits the Earth? 3. How quickly can we feel the effects of space weather? 4. Why are there more flares and CMEs happening now?

SDO Provides First Sightings of How a CME Forms
Solar scientists have long known that at the heart of the great explosions of solar material that shoot off the sun -- known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs – lies a twisted kink of magnetic fields known as a flux rope. But no one has known when or where they form. Now, for the first time, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory as captured a flux rope in the very act of formation. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Sentinels of the Heliosphere
Heliophysics describes the study of the Sun, its atmosphere or the heliosphere, and the planets within it as a system. This visualization tours areas from the Sun to the boundary between the Sun and the rest of our Milky Way galaxy. Along the way, we see different regions patrolled by a fleet of satellites that make up NASA's Heliophysics Observatory Telescopes.

ScienceCasts- Solar Max Double Peaked
Something unexpected is happening on the sun. 2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max, but solar activity is much lower than expected. At least one leading forecaster expects the sun to rebound with a double-peaked maximum later this year.

ScienceCasts- Total Eclipse of the Sun
Visit for more. Scientists and sky watchers are converging on the northeast coast of Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef, for a total eclipse of the sun.

Solar Filament Eruption, Solar Tsunami - Close-up
Close-up of magnetic solar filament erupting during the early hours of February 24, 2012. Notice closer to the surface the solar atmosphere splits and waves of solar material fan out in opposite directions from the split (almost 248,500 miles long), like tsunami waves. This eruption hurled a coronal mass ejection in the direction of Earth. This video ranges from Feb 23 22:32:44 to Feb 24 04:31:32 UT.

Solar Flares Fire Up Protons, Make Gamma Rays
Solar flares produce gamma rays by several processes, one of which is illustrated here. The energy released in a solar flare rapidly accelerates charged particles. When a high-energy proton strikes matter in the sun's atmosphere and visible surface, the result may be a short-lived particle -- a pion -- that emits gamma rays when it decays.

Stellar Flare Sweeps Up Exoplanet's Atmosphere
The exoplanet HD 189733b lies so near its star that it completes an orbit every 2.2 days. In late 2011, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope found that the planet's upper atmosphere was streaming away at speeds exceeding 300,000 mph. Just before the Hubble observation, NASA's Swift detected the star blasting out a strong X-ray flare, one powerful enough to blow away part of the planet's atmosphere.

STEREO Tracks Solar Storms From Sun To Earth
NASA's STEREO spacecraft and new data processing techniques have succeeded in tracking space weather events from their origin in the sun's corona to impact with the Earth, resolving a 40-year mystery about the structure of the structures that cause space weather: how the structures that impact the Earth relate to the corresponding structures in the solar corona.

STEREO's Orbit From 2006 to 2019
Animation of the inner solar system showing the orbits of the twin Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft, called A & B for their locations after and before Earth's orbital ellipse, covering the time period from shortly after launch on October 25, 2006 through October 2019.

Striking a Solar Balance
This short film explores the vital connection between Earth and the sun. NASA's Glory mission and the Total Irradiance Monitor will continue nearly three decades of solar irradiance measurements. This crucial data will contribute to the long-term climate record.

Sun Blasts 6 CMEs in 24 Hour Period
This movie from the chronograph on board the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), shows the sun's atmosphere – the corona – from September 17 to September 20. The sun let loose with at least six coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from 7 PM ET on September 18, 2011 until 1 PM on September 19.

Sun Grazing Comets as Solar Probes
Astronomers were excited in December 2011, when Comet Lovejoy swept right through the sun's corona with its long tail streaming behind it. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured images of the comet, showing how its long tail was buffeted by systems around the sun, offering scientists a unique way of observing movement as if they'd orchestrated the experiment themselves. Since comet tails have ionized gases, they are also affected by the sun's magnetic field, and can act as tracers of the complex magnetic system higher up in the solar atmosphere.

The Solar Cycle
Although it may look unchanging from the ground, the sun actually has a long-term pattern of change called the sunspot cycle. During one cycle the number of sunspots, and solar activity, increases and then decreases again. This process is driven by the flipping of the sun's poles.

The Surprising Power of Solar Storms
NASA-funded researchers say a flurry of solar storms from March 8-10, 2012 dumped enough energy in Earth's upper atmosphere (our thermosphere absorbed 26 billion kWh of energy) to power every residence in New York City for two years as recorded by the SABER instrument onboard NASA's TIMED satellite. This energy temporarily increases the drag on low-orbiting satellites, which decreases their lifetime by bringing them closer to the day of re-entry. There is a plus side; extra drag helps clear space junk out of Earth orbit.

Three Years of SDO Data--Narrated
This version of Three Years of SDO Data is extended, and narrated by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center heliophysicist Alex Young. He highlights many interesting aspects of the video and points out several of the single-frame events that appear in it. In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun's rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle. This video shows those three years of the sun at a pace of two images per day. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Van Gogh Sun
Nicholeen Viall, a solar scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center creates images of the sun reminiscent of Van Gogh, but it's science, not art. The color of each pixel contains a wealth of information about the 12-hour history of cooling and heating at that spot on the sun. That history holds clues to what drives the temperature and movements of the sun's atmosphere, or corona.

Why Are We Seeing So Many Sungrazing Comets?
Before 1979, there were less than a dozen known sungrazing comets. As of December 2012, we know of 2,500. Why did this number increase? With solar observatories like SOHO, STEREO, and SDO, we have not only better means of viewing the sun, but also the comets that approach it. SOHO allows us to see smaller, fainter comets closer to the sun than we have ever been able to see before. Even though many of these comets do not survive their journey past the sun, they survive long enough to be observed, and be added to our record of sungrazing comets.

The X-Ray Sun Over 5.5 Years
Behold five and a half years worth of full-sun observations from XRT. A dramatic illustration of the solar cycle, this movie begins about one year before the first reversed-polarity sunspot ushered in the current cycle on January 8, 2008. The solar cycle is a periodic variation in the Sun's activity that is caused by the gradual 'tangling' and eventual reversal of its magnetic field.