Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NRL Researchers View the Sun in 3-D

09.02.2011
Beginning on February 6, 2011, the two STEREO spacecraft are 180 degrees apart providing Naval Research Laboratory scientists with a 360-degree view of the Sun. NASA's STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) spacecraft were launched on October 25, 2006, and have been gathering spectacular images of solar activity, especially solar storms, since the mission began.

A key component of the STEREO mission is NRL's Sun Earth Connection Coronal and Heliospheric Investigation (SECCHI), a suite of five scientific telescopes that observe the solar corona and inner heliosphere from the surface of the Sun to the orbit of Earth.


Cartesian projection of the entire solar atmosphere as observed by NRL\'s SECCHI EUV telescopes at a temperature of 1.6 million degrees. The lower panels show the individual images from each telescope and the middle panel shows the geometric configuration of the STEREO spacecraft at the time the images were taken. SECCHI acquires such full maps of the sun every 10 to 20 minutes.

These unique observations are made in "stereo" by the two nearly identical solar-powered STEREO observatories with one observatory ahead of Earth in its orbit and the other trailing behind. The two observatories trace the flow of energy and matter from the Sun to Earth. The instruments aboard STEREO reveal the three-dimensional structure of coronal mass ejections, the powerful eruptions of plasma and magnetic energy from the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona.

SECCHI Project Scientist and NRL researcher, Dr. Angelos Vourlidas, explains the significance of this opportunity for the 360-degree view of the Sun, "for the first time, we can take snapshots of the entire atmosphere of a star. To put it in perspective, before STEREO we were like a person trying to get the pulse of a city by watching through a half-open window - not an easy task. Now, STEREO has thrown wide open the window and we can watch the Sun and its activity in its full three-dimensional glory." Each STEREO telescope sees half the Sun at a time. By combining the two views, NRL researchers can map of the entire solar atmosphere continuously.

Before the three-dimensional view was available, researchers had to wait until an active region rotated across the visible-from-Earth disk in order to study the properties. The problem of having to wait for the proper views to appear is that the corona is highly variable, filled with regions that come and go in a matter of days and explosions that can alter the corona landscape in a matter of hours.

With this capability of a three-dimensional view of the Sun, Vourlidas sees the potential for advances in the field of heliophysics. "We can solve the puzzles behind the evolution and structure of the solar atmosphere, including its violent eruptions, because we will be able to observe every feature and source of activity at the same time all over the Sun and follow their connections that can extend to large distances around the Sun," he explains. This opportunity for the STEREO spacecraft to view the Sun in three-dimension will be available for the next eight years.

STEREO is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes Program. STEREO is sponsored by NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Goddard Science and Exploration Directorate manages the mission, instruments, and science center. The Johns Hopkins University applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., designed and built the spacecraft and is operating them for NASA during the mission.

Donna McKinney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nrl.navy.mil

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts
28.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Researchers create artificial materials atom-by-atom
28.03.2017 | Aalto University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>