NASA's recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory is returning early images of the sun which show never-before-seen detail of material streaming outward and away from sunspots, according to the NASA website.
Others images show extreme close-ups of activity on the sun's surface.
The spacecraft also has made the first high-resolution measurements of solar flares in a broad range of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, TVNZ reports.
"We are all living in the outer atmosphere of a star. Its variability influences Earth, the other planets, and the whole solar system," Richard Fisher, NASA's director of heliophysics, said today at a press conference.
For example, strong solar eruptions called coronal mass ejections can send bursts of charged particles streaming toward Earth, where they can overload our planet's magnetic shield, knocking out satellite communications and power grids, according to National Geographic.