NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in February 2010. The five-year mission will provide never-before-seen "ultra high definition images back to earth.
"It's huge. That's solar flare. It doesn't look like it's that big, but if you take into account the size of the sun, that is actually tens of thousands of miles off the surface as it rotates up and falls back in. It doesn't happen as rapidly as that. This is a time lapse, so it takes a couple hours for it to actually do that."
The SDO collects enormous amounts of data every day — enough to fill one CD every 36 seconds. On InformationWeek, a NASA rep says the observatory's latest data will have a colossal impact on the study of the sun.