On August 31 2012, a massive filament eruption gave rise to a geomagnetic storm.

With the current solar cycle approaching its peak, last year was a particularly lively period for our Sun.

In regognition of this, a group of Belgian astronomers from the Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence (STCE), an organisation who provide ESA with regular updates on the status of the Sun, have put together a list of the top 12 solar events during 2012.

The list includes images and videos from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) missions, as well as ESA's Proba-2 and the joint ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

Beginning in 2008, the current 11 year solar cycle is the 24th since scientists began measuring activity on the Sun in 1755.

What is the solar cycle?

The solar cycle is a roughly 11-year cycle in the Sun's activity.

An increase in activity usually results in more sunspots and active regions that can be observed by amateurs.


With heightened levels of solar activity the frequency of solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and other solar events increases.


Keiron AllenFood writer