Saturday, April 24, 2010

Newsy: NASA Releases Hi-Def Images of Sun

NASA released the first high-definition images of the sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, launched in February to collect data about the closet star to Earth.
"NASA has released stunning, detailed images of the sun taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. These are the first pictures to be shown to the public."(Russia Today)
NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, on a five-year mission in February. The satellite is capturing data about the sun to help scientists learn more about the star's impact on Earth.
The solar satellite is sending ultra high definition images back to Earth with 10 times better resolution than hi-def TV. On HLN's "Morning Express," a meteorologist explains what exactly you're seeing: "It's huge. That's solar flare. It doesn't look like it's that big, but if you take into account the size of the sun, that is actually tens of thousands of miles off the surface as it rotates up and falls back in. It doesn't happen as rapidly as that. This is a time lapse, so it takes a couple hours for it to actually do that."
The SDO collects enormous amounts of data every day — enough to fill one CD every 36 seconds. On InformationWeek, a NASA rep says the observatory's latest data will have a colossal impact on the study of the sun: "SDO will change our understanding of our sun and its processes, which affect our lives and society. The mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern Astrophysics."
On ITN, a reporter says that in just two months, the SDO is lighting up space science: "Scientists say it's working perfectly so far and they're already learning new things. NASA says it's disproved at least one theory but they haven't said what yet."
So what do you think of the images?

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