These images are just incredible. We still know only about 1% of what is "out there" in our solar system and I'll guarantee more surprises in the next few years!
This photo shows a mysterious mechanism of the sun that has baffled scientists for centuriesBy Jessica Orwig | Business Insider
What you're seeing is a representation of one small part of the sun's colossal magnetic field.
The sun's magnetic field is constantly changing unlike Earth's, which means it's growing and shrinking in strength.
Sometimes it can swell to be thousands of times stronger than Earth's. When that happens, it generates black blemishes called sunspots, as shown in the image below:
(NASA Goddard on YouTube) If we go back to the first image, what you're seeing are two giant sunspots in blue and yellow. Both are large enough to completely swallow the Earth.
The blue and yellow are false colors — in reality, the sunspots are black.
But these false colors serve an important purpose: The magnetic field of the sunspot in blue has an opposite charge from the sunspot in yellow.
What's happening here is similar to what occurs when you throw a handful of iron filings onto a bar magnet.
The super-hot gas spewing from the solar surface does the same thing: It traces the immensely powerful magnetic field lines connecting the sunspot that acts like the north pole of a bar magnet with the sunspot that represents that south pole.
The most stunning part of this recent SDO image (shown again below) are the white, ethereal wisps — called coronal loops — streaking across the solar surface. These pale whiskers represent hot gas outlining the magnetic field lines connecting the two sunspots.
Although sunspots were first studied in the 16th century by Galileo Galilei — the first scientist to observe the universe through a telescope — researchers are still unsure how these pockets of intense magnetic activity generate sunspots. But with SDO and its more than 100 million pictures taken over the last five years, scientists are hopeful that they will uncover the mysterious mechanism behind these enigmatic spots.