NASA has released the first images from its Sun-monitoring space probe.
|This false colour ultraviolet image shows differing gas temperatures, with reds around 60,000 Kelvin and blues and greens over 1 million K.|
Launched in February, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is on a five year mission to study the Sun’s magnetic field and its influence on Earth (see: Solar science satellite successfully sent soaring skywards). The 1.5 terabytes of data it will beam back to researchers every day will help them understand events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which can cause problems back on Earth if they interfere with the magnetosphere (see: What will the next solar cycle bring?).
“These initial images show a dynamic sun that I had never seen in more than 40 years of solar research,” says Richard Fisher, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA (press release).
“SDO will change our understanding of the sun and its processes, which affect our lives and society. This mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.”