"This video of the sun
based on data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, shows the wide range of wavelengths
-- invisible to the naked eye -- that the telescope can view. SDO converts the wavelengths into an image humans can see
, and the light is colorized into a rainbow of colors." And because it's NASA, you can download the video in various formats
Stunning video of the transit of Venus
by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
On July 5th the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory
) captured video
of a comet, known as a sungrazer
, in route to collide with our star. SOHO is equipped with an occluding coronograph
that blocks direct sunlight and reveals the corona
, but also prevents direct study of the terminal impact of sungrazers. But on July 6th, with the help of the Solar Dynamics Observatory
were able to observe the comet (slyt)
streaking in front of the surface of the sun for the first time in history. It likely disintegrated before impact due to extreme heat and radiation.
"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity." Dr. Richard Fisher
and other sun-gazing scientists recently discussed
the upcoming peak in the 11-year sunspot cycle
. Due to the ever-increasing humans' reliance on electrical systems, the storm could leave a multi-billion pound damage bill and "potentially devastating" problems for governments.
Constant improvements in satellite designs have assisted in
bracing for a solar superstorm
, an effort that comes in part by studying the impacts records of activity from past peaks in solar storms. System limits are set based on significant solar storm-triggered events in the past
, though the largest magnetic storm on record was before the modern understanding of solar events
. The solar storm of 1859
, also known as The Carrington Event
, when "telegraphs ran on electric air
," was experienced around the world. [more inside]
"First Light" for the Solar Dynamics Observatory
- researchers unveiled "First Light" images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space telescope designed to study the Sun.
. On the 40th anniversary of the NASA's Apollo 8 mission
[caution: weird JFK animation], which answered Stewart Brand's
-inspired question "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?"
with an unforgettable image of a seemingly fragile and isolated blue planet
editor Oliver Morton -- author of a new book
on photosynthesis called Eating the Sun
-- disputes the notion that the Earth is fragile and isolated. "The fragility is an illusion," he writes. "The planet Earth is a remarkably robust thing, and this strength flows from its ancient and intimate connection to the cosmos beyond. To see the photo this way does not undermine its environmental relevance -- but it does recast it."
Have you ever wondered what a solar eclipse would look like from space? The STEREO
(Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) has just sent back its view (awe-inspiring video included).
It has also sent back some gorgeous pictures
of our sun (and the McNaught Comet). For more media, check out the other galleries
(including some 3D images). For more about the project, see NASA's STEREO homepage
. Be sure to also stop by the Johns Hopkins University STEREO Page,
where you can download a mission guide (pdf), view animations, watch a video of the launch,
or even make your own papercraft STEREO model (pdf).
You can also learn more in six minute segments with their series of short educational videos.
The Solar Optical Telescope
(SOT), an advanced telescope onboard the Hinode
satellite, was launched
into space by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency
on September 22, 2006. On October 23, the SOT opened its protective doors and began taking pictures
Going to the moon? Be careful.
A new kind of solar storm can take you by surprise. Biggest proton storm since 1956 - before there were satellites monitoring the sun.
Because spaceflight, in and of itself, is just way to easy.
On 08 August 2001, NASA launched Genesis
. It was a spacecraft that would spend 1125 days in space, including 884 days collecting 0.4 milligrams of solar particles. At that point, it would launch a 500 lbs return vehicle that would travel 600 mph back to earth. When it enters the atmosphere, at approximately 11:55am EST on Wednesday of this week, it will be going close to twenty-five thousand
mph. Oddly enough, this is the easy part of the mission.
Because then, two minutes later, NASA is going to catch it. In mid-air. With a helicopter. Really.
The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle
shot off the sun earlier today. After the media latched on to what was predicted to be mostly a non-event last week (probably due to a NASA article released around the same time about a super spacestorm
) , it's not making as much news this time. But you should pay attention this time
. This could be the best and last chance for a lot of us farther south to see some auroras before the sun dives into solar minimum, assuming all the variables line up
correctly this time. I recommend watching the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch
, as it is a great all around resource for solar activity and auroras that includes live data and sightings reports by the general public. Unfortunately though, no doubt as word IS spreading, that site is being hammered again and may be quite slow.