Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SDO Satellite Views Sun

NASA has just released the first images from a new satellite which serves the purpose of predicting disruptive solar storms. The satellite was launched on February 11th and according to chief scientist Dean Pesnell, it has already disproved at least one theory, although he didn't give any more information.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite has three instrument packages to measure atmospheric and space physics. During its 5 year mission it will examine the sun's magnetic field and also provide better explanations for the sun's role in Earth's climate and atmospheric chemistry.

A multiwavelength extreme UV image of the sun taken at the end of March is shown above. False colors trace the temperatures of different gases, red being relatively cool (107,500 F) and blue/green being hotter (1.8 million F). Below you can see a video taken by the SDO which shows the solar prominence eruption on March 30, 2010 (Credit: NASA/Goddard). The video loops through one viewpoint, then zooms out and gives you a wider perspective.

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