Eruptions and Flares

The Sun is in a period of near-maximum activity in this time-lapse movie taken from October 21 – November 6, 2003. The images are from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft.

When an eruption occurs on the side of the Sun facing the Earth, the blast of radiation affects the sensors of the spacecraft, as well as other satellites, communications, and electrical systems on Earth. Activity on the Sun is often measured in 11-year cycles, with the period of maximum activity characterized by massive flares and eruptions.