'Hubble Of The Sun' Begins Transmitting Images

  • A "solar prominence," an eruption of gas from the sun's surface, explodes on March 30, 2010. The image comes from a new NASA space telescope called the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO), which was launched in February to study the sun.
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    A "solar prominence," an eruption of gas from the sun's surface, explodes on March 30, 2010. The image comes from a new NASA space telescope called the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO), which was launched in February to study the sun.
    SDO/AIA/Nate Lavey
  • This ultraviolet image of the sun, with false color traces, indicates different gas temperatures. The blues and greens show the hottest, at nearly 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit, while reds are around 107,000 degrees. The new telescope, currently orbiting the Earth, was designed to study the sun's magnetic field and its influence on Earth.
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    This ultraviolet image of the sun, with false color traces, indicates different gas temperatures. The blues and greens show the hottest, at nearly 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit, while reds are around 107,000 degrees. The new telescope, currently orbiting the Earth, was designed to study the sun's magnetic field and its influence on Earth.
    SDO/AIA/Nate Lavey
  • An atmospheric explosion, called a solar flare, erupts out of the sun on April 8. Solar flares release huge amounts of magnetic energy and can generate temperatures well above 30 million degrees Fahrenheit.
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    An atmospheric explosion, called a solar flare, erupts out of the sun on April 8. Solar flares release huge amounts of magnetic energy and can generate temperatures well above 30 million degrees Fahrenheit.
    SDO/AIA/Nate Lavey
  • On March 29 the new telescope captured this image of a sunspot, a dark patch caused by magnetic activity on the surface of the sun. NASA reports that the white and black colors indicate opposite magnetic polarities and that the main white area is approximately the size of Earth.
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    On March 29 the new telescope captured this image of a sunspot, a dark patch caused by magnetic activity on the surface of the sun. NASA reports that the white and black colors indicate opposite magnetic polarities and that the main white area is approximately the size of Earth.
    SDO/HMI/Nate Lavey
  • A distant view of the sun and its clouds of magnetized gases, which NASA says are big enough to encompass entire planets. NASA program scientist Lika Guhathakurta describes the new telescope as a "Hubble for the sun"; she believes it will "transform solar physics in the same way the Hubble Space Telescope has transformed astronomy and cosmology." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Vis...
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    A distant view of the sun and its clouds of magnetized gases, which NASA says are big enough to encompass entire planets. NASA program scientist Lika Guhathakurta describes the new telescope as a "Hubble for the sun"; she believes it will "transform solar physics in the same way the Hubble Space Telescope has transformed astronomy and cosmology."
    NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio/Nate Lavey

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Launched in Febraury 2010, NASA describes the Solar Dynamics Observatory as the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. Over the course of its five-year mission, it will study the sun's magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate. The images the telescope captures provide clarity 10 times better than high-definition television and transmit more comprehensive science data faster than previous solar spacecraft, according to NASA.

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