The magnetic field lines between a pair of active regions formed a beautiful set of swaying arches, seen in this footage captured by our Solar Dynamics Observatory on April 24-26, 2017.
These arches, which form a connection between regions of opposite magnetic polarity, are visible in exquisite detail in this wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. Extreme ultraviolet light is typically invisible to our eyes, but is colorized here in gold.
Cascading loops on the surface of the sun highlight an active region that had just rotated into view of our solar-observing spacecraft. We have observed this phenomenon numerous times, but this one was one of the longest and clearest sequences we have seen in years.
The bright loops are actually charged particles spinning along the magnetic field lines! The action was captured in a combination of two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light over a period of about 20 hours.
Over a 22-hour period (May 2-3, 2017), strands of plasma at the sun’s edge shifted and twisted back and forth. In this close-up, the strands are being manipulated by strong magnetic forces associated with active regions on the sun.
To give a sense of scale, the strands hover above the sun more than several times the size of Earth! The images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.