Has the Sun Blown its Top?

I spotted this image on the Facebook page for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and found it so compelling that I had to share it.

The brilliant arcing loops of hot plasma, and the roiling bright areas certainly caught my attention. But I was most intrigued by the two bluish, dark regions, especially the one atop the Sun. If you didn’t know much about solar dynamics, you might guess that the Sun really has blown its top.

And in a way, you’d be right — sort of.

The dark areas are cal

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