NASA's New Triumph Sends Back Never Before Seen Images Of The Sun
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched in February, is sending back high-resolution image details of the sun and its activities that have never been seen before. NASA's expectations are that the SDO will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.
Certainly the early photos and videos sent back from the SDO are the most dramatic and vibrant images of the sun... beyond our wildest imagination. In the image below, false colors have been employed to show the temperature of different gases on the sun. The reds are relatively cool temperatures (about 107,540°F) and the blues and green colors are hotter (about 1.8 million degrees F).
This 4 minute video shows the above solar eruption and several other events seen above in still images. It is a compilation of events sent back by the SDO in the last few weeks....
The SDO sends 1.5 terabytes of data back to Earth each day, equivalent to a download of about half a million songs to your iPod. The observatory is equipped with the latest technological instruments to conduct solar research:
- A Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager to map solar magnetic fields, taking ultrasounds of the sun's active regions;
- An Atmospheric Imaging Assembly consisting of 4 telescopes that will photograph the sun's surface and atmosphere; and
- The Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment that measures fluctuations in the sun's radiant emissions, which impact the Earth's upper atmosphere by heating it and breaking apart its atoms and molecules.
SDO is the first mission of NASA's Living With A Star (LWS) Program that will study the aspects of the sun-Earth relationship that directly impacts our lives and society.