Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

September 16, 1996

The Sun Flares
NASA, Skylab

Explanation: The Sun is a seething ball of extremely hot gas. Above, the Sun was captured by Skylab in 1973 throwing off one the largest flares in recorded history. The Sun has survived for about 5 billion years, and will likely survive for another 5 billion. The Sun is not on fire, will never explode, and a solar flare will never destroy the Earth. The Sun continues to present many unanswered questions. For example: Why is the Sun's corona so hot? What causes the Sun's unusual magnetic field? Why does the Sun's center emit so few neutrinos?

Tomorrow's picture: Comet Hale-Bopp Fades

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC