NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory was deployed to help us better understand how our closest star affects Earth. Over the past eight years, it has captured some spectacular images of the sun -- solar flares, coronal mass ejections and other dazzling sights.
The SDO launched in February 2010 from Florida's Cape Canaveral. The nearly 15-foot tall, 6-foot-wide spacecraft provides nearly continual observations of the sun, so if something happens, SDO will likely know about it.
Below, a few of the solar scenes it has captured over the years.