NASA Sees Monster Sunspot Growing Fast, Solar Storms Possible - The bottom two black spots on the sun, known as sunspots, appeared quickly over the course of Feb. 19-20, 2013. These two sunspots are part of the same system and are over six Earths across.
The sun may be an average star when compared to the menagerie of stars that exist in our galaxy, but to Earth and all life on our planet, the sun is the most important object in the Universe. However, regardless of its importance and close proximity, our nearest star holds many mysteries that continue to fox solar physicists after decades of modern studies with cutting-edge observatories.
This image of craters on the surface of Mercury, taken by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, bears resemblance to the Cookie Monster. To learn more about the strange and wonderful features of the planet Mercury, check out a free lecture at the National Air and Space Museum next Saturday, October 20th: http://airandspace.si.edu/events/eventDetail.cfm?eventID=4306 Afterward, visit the Public Observatory for evening observing! http://airandspace.si.edu/events/eventDetail.cfm?eventID=4395
A monster storm was born and died in view of a NASA spacecraft. Starting as a tiny spot, it grew rapidly to about 9,000 miles (15,000 kilometers) from north to south. The Cassini probe watched the entire process which began in December, 2010 and ended in June, 2011.
One of the most spectacular solar sights is an erupting prominence. Two weeks ago, NASA's Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamic Observatory spacecraft imaged an impressively large prominence erupting from the surface. The dramatic explosion was captured in ultraviolet light in the above time lapse video covering 90 minutes, where a new frame was taken every 24 seconds.