A new sun-studying satellite had its coming-out party in April, with the release of early imagery and videos. The Solar Dynamics Observatory, launched by NASA in February, returns 16-megapixel images of the sun on a nearly continuous basis, splits the sun's emissions into its individual wavelengths, tracks the propagation of waves across the sun's surface and maps the ever shifting solar magnetic field. The photograph here is an extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken on March 30. False colors trace different gas temperatures: reds are relatively cool (about 60,000 degrees); blues and greens are hotter (at least one million degrees).

With all that information, scientists think that the observatory could do for heliophysics what the Hubble Space Telescope has done for astrophysics in general.