Παρασκευή, 22 Απριλίου 2011

Best Sun Images From Solar Space Telescope’s First Year

ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space telescope charged with watching the sun in unprecedented detail, revealed its first look at the sun to the world one year ago today.
Since then, the telescope has watched the sun shift from its quietest period in years to the beginning of a new, active solar cycle. It's seen loops of plasma that dwarf the Earth tracing the sun's magnetic field, early stages of massive explosions that send hot charged material ripping through space, and sunspots dancing across the solar surface.
"This magnificent observatory is exceeding expectations," said former SDO project manager Elizabeth Critin of NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center. "The images of the sun are spectacular and the scientific value of data is immense."
"The SDO mission is turning out to be our Hubble for the sun," said NASA solar physicist Madhulika Guhathakurta. "It is already transforming heliophysics (the science of space weather) in the same way the Hubble Space telescope has transformed astronomy and cosmology."
In this gallery, we look back at the mind-blowing sun photo factory's greatest hits.
Above:

First Light

SDO saw its first erupting solar prominence on March 30, 2010. Solar scientists think the eruption was triggered by a twist in the sun's magnetic field. When flares like this are directed at Earth, they can wreak havoc with satellites and power grids.

ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum

Full Disk

SDO is the only solar observatory currently flying that can see the full disk of the sun at high resolution. It takes images as often as every 1.25 seconds over a wide range of wavelengths. The telescope's three instruments track the sun's atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation and magnetic fields, even peering beneath the sun's surface where shifting magnetic fields set solar activity in motion.
This image was captured in the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum in late March, 2010. It's shown here in false color, with different colors mapping to different temperatures: Reds are relatively cool temperatures of around 100,000 degrees Fahrenheit (60,000 kelvins), while blues and greens represent hotter regions of more than 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (1,000,000 kelvins).

more > http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/04/happy-birthday-sdo/?pid=1240&viewall=true

Then and Now

SDO launched just as the sun was emerging from an unusually long and quiet solar minimum. Side-by-side views of the sun in 2009 from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (left) and in March 2011 from SDO (right) show sharply different views of the sun: One calm and cool, one firey and alive.

SDO partial eclipse

Partial Eclipse

The moon blocked SDO's view of the sun for the first time on Oct. 7, 2010. This striking image has scientific value to the SDO team: The moon's sharp edge helps solar scientists measure the in-orbit characteristics of the telescope. Those measurements help cancel out errors and jitters from the instruments, making future images even sharper.

plasma twister

Plasma Twister

Some of SDO's best-known work is its striking videos of the sun ejecting gigantic loops of plasma. This enormous plasma twister erupted on the solar surface Oct. 28, 2010.
The explosion was triggered by a tangled coil of magnetism that suddenly untwisted, acting like a loaded spring and hurling solar matter into space. At its peak, the twister towered more than 217,000 miles above the sun's surface.

SDO earth shadow

Earth's Shadow

Twice a year, SDO enters an eclipse season, during which it slips behind the Earth for up to 72 minutes a day. This image of the half-eclipsed sun was captured March 29. The Earth's shadow has a ragged edge because of its variable atmosphere, which lets different amounts of sunlight through.

epic blast

Epic Blast

This enormous magnetic filament snaked across the sun for two days in December 2010 before collapsing in a cascade of hot plasma on the afternoon of Dec. 6. At its peak, the loop stretched more than 435,000 miles, the full radius of the sun.
SDO is expected to continue staring at the sun for at least another four years.
"In the next year and beyond as the solar cycle gets more active, SDO will play a critical role in providing science understanding for space weather early forecasting, and scientists will be harvesting the rich science from all these beautiful movies," Guhathakurta said.

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