Solar Eruptive Prominence
Solar Dynamics Observatory
On February 11, 2010, at 10:23 in the morning, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) launched into space on an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral.
A year later, SDO has sent back millions of stunning images of the sun and a host of new data to help us understand the complex star at the heart of our solar system.
"One of the highlights of the last year is just that everything worked so smoothly," says astrophysicist Dean Pesnell, the project scientist for SDO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "We turned it on in March and it immediately started sending us data at 150 megabits per second. It worked from the very get go."
The first things scientists and the public saw from SDO was an array of wonderfully detailed pictures of the sun. One of the three instruments on board, called the
Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths -- each wavelength helps illuminate aspects of the sun at
different temperatures. The images are all available in real time online for everyone to see.
"It's been great to watch how popular these images are," says Phil Chamberlin, another astrophysicist at Goddard and one of SDO's deputy project scientists.
"The public has been extremely interested. And it's important that people see what the sun is doing and how it affects us." Read More....Credit: NASA/SDO