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Image of the Year: Our Sun Lets Out a Roar

A sunspot nearly 80,000 miles across was seen in 2014 — the largest in 24 years.

RELATED TAGS: SOLAR SYSTEM
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Although the sun’s current 11-year cycle of activity is one of the quietest ever recorded, this Oct. 20 image (left) is anything but calm. The composite combines different views of extreme ultraviolet light captured by NASA’s space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory. The coronal loops — massive magnetic arches of hot gas — sizzle at 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (yellow), while plumes of plasma (red) simmer at a relatively cool 90,000 F. In October, the area known as activ...
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