Coming soon: 3D views of the sun

November 10, 2005

The first spacecraft designed to record "stereo" views of the sun and solar wind are at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland for pre-launch testing.

The twin probes were shipped Wednesday from Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

The nearly identical twin STEREO -- Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory -- probes were recently tested at the APL for structural integrity.

The tests simulated the ride into space the observatories will encounter during their launch aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral next spring.

After undergoing additional pre-launch checks -- including thermal vacuum testing to duplicate the extreme temperature and airless conditions of space -- the STEREO observatories will be moved to Florida in March for final launch preparations.

During their two-year mission, the observatories will explore the origin, evolution and interplanetary consequences of coronal mass ejections.

To obtain "stereo" views of the sun, the observatories must be placed in different orbits where they're offset from each other and the Earth.

One observatory will be placed ahead of the Earth's orbit and the other behind. That placement will allow the STEREO observatories to obtain 3-D images and particle measurements of the sun.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Curiosity Mars rover tracks sunspots

Related Stories

Curiosity Mars rover tracks sunspots

July 13, 2015

While busily investigating bedrock types on Mars' Mount Sharp and preparing for a drill test, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has also been looking up frequently to monitor sunspots on the face of the sun that is turned away ...

The solar system and beyond is awash in water

April 8, 2015

As NASA missions explore our solar system and search for new worlds, they are finding water in surprising places. Water is but one piece of our search for habitable planets and life beyond Earth, yet it links many seemingly ...

Nanodust particles in the interplanetary medium

March 9, 2015

Dust particles smaller than about a wavelength of light are abundant in our solar system, created by collisions between asteroids and from the evaporation of comets. As they scatter sunlight, these particles produce the zodiacal ...

How do we study the Sun?

February 9, 2015

A quick think about optical astronomy would have you imagine that most of it takes place at night. Isn't that when the stars and galaxies come out to play? Well, that assumption makes at least one glaring error: Earth happens ...

Recommended for you

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies

July 31, 2015

When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice—they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

Binary star system precisely timed with pulsar's gamma-rays

July 31, 2015

Pulsars are rapidly rotating compact remnants born in the explosions of massive stars. They can be observed through their lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and gamma-rays. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational ...

Exoplanets 20/20: Looking back to the future

July 31, 2015

Geoff Marcy remembers the hair standing up on the back of his neck. Paul Butler remembers being dead tired. The two men had just made history: the first confirmation of a planet orbiting another star.

Earth flyby of 'space peanut' captured in new video

July 31, 2015

NASA scientists have used two giant, Earth-based radio telescopes to bounce radar signals off a passing asteroid and produce images of the peanut-shaped body as it approached close to Earth this past weekend.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.