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This montage of 365 images shows the changing activity of our sun through the eyes of ESA's Proba-2 satellite during 2018. The images were taken by the satellite's SWAP camera, which works at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths to capture the sun's hot turbulent atmosphere – the corona, at temperatures of about a million degrees.
The satellite is continuously monitoring the sun – one image was selected to represent each day of the year. Click here for an animated version.
Sun - Year - Cycle - Activity - Minimum
The sun typically follows an 11 year cycle of activity, and throughout 2018, it embraced its solar minimum, displaying few active regions – seen as the bright regions in the images.
One way to assess the level of activity is by counting sunspots (dark spots in the images), or recording the strength of solar flares. The most energetic flare of 2018 was recorded on 7 February, from a small region located at central latitudes in the eastern hemisphere of the sun (to the left of the centre of the sun in the corresponding image).
Classification - System - Flares - Strength - A
It was classed as a 'C-8.1' in the classification system that divides solar flares according to their strength. The smallest are A, followed by B, C, M and X, with each letter representing a ten-fold increase in energy output such that an X-class flare is 100 times stronger...
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