Results tagged “Solar Dynamics Observatory”

February 11, 2015 marks five years in space for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole sun 24 hours a day.

NASA SDO - Graceful Turbulence

Powerful magnetic forces above an active region spun and pulled at a blob of plasma until it lost its connections and blew out into space on March 26, 2014.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory - Year 4

The Sun is always changing and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is always watching. Launched on February 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the Sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the Sun's atmosphere, the corona.

Three months after the flight of the solar observatory Sunrise - carried aloft by a NASA scientific balloon in early June 2013 -- scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany have presented unique insights into a layer on the sun called the chromosphere.

A giant explosion of magnetic energy from the Sun, called a coronal mass ejection, slams into and is deflected completely by the Earth's powerful magnetic field. The Sun also continually sends out streams of light and radiation energy. Earth's atmosphere acts like a radiation shield, blocking quite a bit of this energy.

Using an instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, called the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, or HMI, scientists have overturned previous notions of how the sun's writhing insides move from equator to pole and back again, a key part of understanding how the dynamo works. Modeling this system also lies at the heart of improving predictions of the intensity of the next solar cycle.

Two NASA spacecraft have provided the most comprehensive movie ever of a mysterious process at the heart of all explosions on the sun: magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection happens when magnetic field lines come together, break apart, and then exchange partners, snapping into new positions and releasing a jolt of magnetic energy. This process lies at the heart of giant explosions on the sun such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which can fling radiation and particles across the solar system.

As the Sun approaches solar maximum this year and next, sunspots will grow more frequent and numerous. Those tangled knots of magnetic activity will bring more frequent solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and plenty of radio disturbances that affect technology on Earth. The rise in the Sun's activity also increases the odds of seeing auroras at high latitudes and, occasionally, middle latitudes.

"This Week at NASA" looks at the upcoming SDO Mission and keeps going and going with the Mars Opportunity Rover. Updates on STS-130 and Expedition 23.

SDO Mission scientists participated in a briefing to discuss the upcoming launch and science of an unprecedented mission to study the sun and its dynamic behavior. The briefing on the Solar Dynamics Observatory mission took place in Washington and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA Edge @ Solar Dynamics Observatory

It isn't safe to stare at the Sun for you or the NASA EDGE Team, but SDO will be able to do just that with ease 24/7.

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