Thursday, April 22, 2010

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory Provides Stunning New Images Of Sun

NASA's latest mission to study the sun has already reaped benefits with the release of new photos and video taken from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. They are absolutely stunning with the clarity and scope of detail picked up on the surface of the sun in multiple wavelengths.
Some of the images from the spacecraft show never-before-seen detail of material streaming outward and away from sunspots. Others 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.

"These initial images show a dynamic sun that I had never seen in more than 40 years of solar research,” said Richard Fisher, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "SDO will change our understanding of the sun and its processes, which affect our lives and society. This mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.”
The SDO will send back 1.5 terabytes of data every day, which gives scientists quite a bit of information to work through.

The information will help determine when solar flares might occur as well as explore the nature of sunspots and their multi-year cycles.

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