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SDO First Light Movies

The Sun performs for SDO - AIA
Soon after the instruments opened their doors, the Sun began performing for SDO with this beautiful prominence eruption. This AIA data is from March 30, 2010, showing a wavelength band that is centered around 304 Å. This extreme ultraviolet emission line is from singly ionized Helium, or He II, and corresponds to a temperature of approx. 50,000 degrees Celsius. The second movie shows a prominence with larger field of view
AIA multi-temperature images of eruption and flare - AIA
This movie shows a flare and blast wave from an eruption. The dark region is where the erupting material has evacuated. The sequences are made from combinations of different AIA wavebands into a single image, with different colors representing different temperatures and layers of the atmosphere.
Solar Dynamics Observatory First Light Press Conference
SDO: High-res throughout the Sun's atmosphere - AIA & HMI
This movie captures only a fraction of SDO's imaging capabilities. It shows the Sun's magnetic field followed by only four of SDO's 12 imaging wavebands. You'll see an eruption, flare, and dimming (dark regions evacuated by the eruption) by observing the event in several different layers of the atmosphere. Why didn't we show all 12 layers at full resolution? Because at high-res the movie would nearly a third of a gigabyte in size.
The Sun lights up for EVE
EVE opened its doors, and less than 1 hour later the Sun celebrated with a flare. The image shows the Sun observed in X-rays, with EVE's (extremely) high-resolution spectra jumping drastically. And this was a minor flare! EVE measures the many wavelengths, or spectra, that affect different layers of the Earth's atmosphere.
The Sun's magnetic field in high def
This HMI movie shows a sunspot region and the surrounding magnetic field. White = magnetic field pointing out of the Sun, black regions = into the Sun. Notice the tiny flux elements that cover the rest of the Sun; an example of HMI's extraordinary capabilities. These magnetic fields form the basis for the coronal loops and prominences you see in the AIA images.
Who says it's solar minimum? - HMI
This HMI movie shows a sunspot umbra (dark region) and the surrounding regions, called penumbra. The umbra is dark because the intense magnetic field inhibits the flow of heat to the Sun's surface (photosphere). This is a high-res movie of the "white light continuum," which is essentially the range of wavelengths seen by the human eye.
EVE maps the Earth's radiation belts - before first light!
EVE was able to produce the first SDO science result soon after launch, long before the instruments opened their doors. Only one of EVE's channels was activated, and fortunately this channel was sensitive to the extremely high-energy protons in Earth's radiation belts. As SDO's orbit made its ascent to geosynch, EVE mapped out the Earth's radiation environment.
A rare view - Earth eclipsing the Sun
HMI was undergoing a series of adjustments when SDO's view was partially blocked by the Earth. At the edges of the shadow, the Sun's shape bends, due to the light's refraction by the Earth's atmosphere. SDO will have two "eclipse seasons" each year, when the orbit of SDO will intersect the Sun-Earth line.
EVE's spectrum in its full glory
EVE's measurements span a wide range of wavelengths, at extremely high resolution. EVE's sensitivity is necessary if we want to understand how the Sun's irradiance changes at different wavelengths. The red and blue bars in the movie show the wave bands of SDO's imagers. EVE observes far beyond those wavelengths.
Many different views of the Sun - HMI & AIA
This movie starts with a magnetogram from HMI and moves on to 7 different wavebands observed by AIA's telescopes. AIA covers a wide range of temperatures and will answer important questions about the temperature and energy structure of the Sun's atmosphere.
The Sun's hot and "cold" atmosphere - AIA
AIA's many wavebands allow us to see regions on the Sun corresponding to a range of temperatures. The first image is a composite made from three of the AIA wavelength bands, corresponding to temperatures from .7 to 2 million degrees (hotter = red, cooler = blue). The second movie shows a prominence eruption made showing 50,000 and 700,00 degrees.
Constant motion of the Sun's surface
A dopplergram measures the doppler shift of the Sun's photosphere. The Sun is filled with sound waves, and when these hit the surface it causes motion of the photosphere. Because the sound waves are inside the Sun, we can use "helioseismology" to study the flows and structure of the solar interior.
A prominence eruption observed by AIA
AIA caught this beautiful prominence eruption only a few days after its doors were opened. The movie wobbles at the end because AIA's image stabilization system wasn't fully activated yet. Without the full stabilization capability, AIA would not be able to see the Sun at such high resolution. The actual wobble was extremely small - imagine a period in a newspaper seen from 100 meters away. Now move that period over a couple of words.
Features of our quiet Sun - AIA
While a huge prominence was erupting on the other side of the Sun, other prominences remained in a quiet state. However, on the Sun, "quiet" is a relative term. The movie shows the continuous flow and motion of a small prominence on an average day.
SDO's beautiful launch
An Atlas V roared to life on the morning of February 11, sending the Solar Dynamics Observatory into space on its mission to evaluate the complex mechanisms of the sun. Liftoff came at 10:23 a.m. and early in SDO's flight you can see many ripples from SDO breaking the sound barrier.
HMI instrument
A movie highlighting the structure of the HMI instrument and its position on the spacecraft.
EVE instrument
A movie highlighting the structure of the EVE instrument and its position on the spacecraft.
AIA instrument
A movie highlighting the structure of the AIA instrument and its position on the spacecraft.

SDO First Light Sill Images


Informational videos about SDO


First Light and Data Resources

NASA Press Release
First Light Briefing Materials
First Light Events
SVS - Science Visualization Studio SDO First Light page
NASA's SDO Portal site
A Brief introduction to SDO First Light Images and movies
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AIA - Atmospheric Imaging Assembly
HMI - Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager
EVE - Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment
JSOC - Joint Science Operations Center