Solar Flare

RHESSI aims to provide the first-ever opportunity to track the radiation released by solar flares in X-ray and gamma rays. This radiation is what reveals critical information about the flare: the exact time and place where the energy is released. This can help to understand what triggers a flare and how it releases energy.

This moderately powerful Feb. 20 flare is first seen in the movie by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Color-coded HESSI data is then super-imposed on black & white images delivered by ground-based telescopes at the Big Bear Observatory; blue shows the most intense X-ray emissions and red the weakest. During the flare, the X-rays are generated by electrons accelerated to half the speed of light. Because the flare was relatively weak, there were no gamma rays observed that would have shown high-energy protons. This view is near a large sunspot region that produced a series of solar flares.

 Video of Feb. 20 solar flare:
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