Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


STEREO launches towards the Sun

UK solar scientists celebrated this morning as NASA’s STEREO mission launched successfully from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. STEREO will provide the first ever 3D views of the Sun.

STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) comprises two nearly identical observatories that will orbit the Sun to monitor its violent outbursts known as coronal mass ejections (CME’s). These powerful solar eruptions are a major component of “space weather” which can impact Earth, satellites and astronauts.

The spacecraft launched at 8.52 pm EDT (1.52 am in the UK) on a Delta II rocket, with the two observatories being stacked one on top of the other. They separated from the launch vehicle approximately 25 minutes after lift off. Some 63 minutes later mission control received the first signals from the spacecraft which indicated that each observatory’s solar arrays had successfully deployed and were providing power.

Speaking live from the launch site Dr Chris Davis from CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, one of members of the UK STEREO team said, “The launch was truly spectacular with the spacecraft blazing through the dark night sky and providing an amazing reflection in the Banana River. This year’s fireworks displays will be a real let down in comparison!”

Professor Keith Mason, CEO of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) said, “We look forward with great anticipation to seeing the results from these twin observatories. Such in depth observations of the sun will provide invaluable information that will affect future activities in space and on Earth building on the success of previous missions such as YOHKOH and SOHO, and the recently launched Solar-B mission.”

The twin observatories will fly as mirror images of each other to obtain unique “stereo” views of the sun’s activities. One observatory will be placed ahead of Earth in its orbit around the sun and the other behind. Such positioning will allow the STEREO observatories to obtain 3-D images and sample the wind of the particles flying out from the Sun.

Lunar swingbys will be used to place the observatories into their correct orbits. This is the first time that lunar swingbys have been used to manipulate orbits of more than one spacecraft.

For the first couple of months the observatories will fly in an orbit from a point close to Earth to one that extends beyond the moon. Then mission operations personnel will synchronise spacecraft orbits, directing one observatory to its position trailing Earth in its orbit. Approximately one month later, the second observatory will be redirected to its position ahead of Earth. STEREO will then operate for a further two years.

UK scientists from CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the University of Birmingham built and will operate one of the instruments on each of the spacecraft.

Gill Ormrod | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

3-D-printed structures shrink when heated

26.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow

26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

First results of NSTX-U research operations

26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>