Solar Dynamics Observatory

The Sun / Captured on 30 March 2010

On Feb 11 NASA launched a new spacecraft to study our closest star, the sun. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is now fully functional and sending back an incredible 1.5 terabytes of data every day. The photo above is a ‘full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image’. Basically the red parts are cool and the blue & green parts are hot. Relatively speaking of course, even the red bits hit about 100,000 °F.

The impact of SDO is going to be huge. It’s the most advanced craft ever built to study a star, and during its 5 year mission could dramatically change our understanding of the sun. As described by Richard Fisher of NASA:

“This mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.”

Expect some fascinating discoveries and beautiful images.

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