Last week NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph observatory opened its eyes to the Sun.
This image from NASA’s IRIS spacecraft shows the region around two sunspots – the dark areas at upper left and lower right. It shows emission from ionized silicon (Si IV) in the transition region at a temperature of about 116,000 degrees Fahrenheit, plus ultraviolet continuum from the chromosphere at a temperature of about 17,000 degrees F. The bright dots are short-lived, intense patches of Si IV emission. The role that these dynamic events have in heating the solar atmosphere is currently unknown.
Above is a wider shot of the same region from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA