STEREO sees complete far side of the Sun

Jun 14, 2011 By Susan Hendrix
First complete image of the far side of the sun taken on June 1, 2011. Credit: NASA/STEREO

(PhysOrg.com) -- The far side unveiled! This is the first complete image of the solar far side, the half of the sun invisible from Earth. Captured on June 1, 2011, the composite image was assembled from NASA's two Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft. STEREO-Ahead's data is shown on the left half of image and STEREO-Behind's data on the right.

The reached opposition (180° separation) on February 6 but part of the sun was inaccessible to their combined view until June 1. This image represents the first day when the entire far side could be seen.

The image is aligned so that solar north is directly up. The seam between the two images is inclined because the plane of Earth’s -- and STEREO's -- orbit, known as the "ecliptic", is inclined with respect to the sun's axis of rotation. The data was collected by STEREO's Extreme Ultraviolet Imagers in the SECCHI instrument suites.

STEREO was built and is operated for by the Applied Physical Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University; the spacecraft were launched on October 25, 2006 aboard a Delta II. The SECCHI instrument suite is a collaboration led by the Naval Research Laboratory, and the EUVI instruments were built by the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory.

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User comments : 4

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nayTall
1 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2011
my god! it's like another 'person' altogether! who knew it would be so.. orange and swirly?!
panorama
not rated yet Jun 14, 2011
my god! it's like another 'person' altogether! who knew it would be so.. orange and swirly?!

dif'rent strokes...
thermodynamics
not rated yet Jun 14, 2011
This new view is going to be a boon to the solar physicists predicting the behavior of the sun. It will help to explain currents in the solar atmosphere. It will also help predict solar flares and sunspots before they get around to our side. This will go a long way toward protection of our satellite communication and navigation system. To think that this is not important is to ignore the idea that the sun is the main controller of the electromagnetic behavior of the earth.
suedeniem
not rated yet Jun 14, 2011
Hmmm. . .
Makes a really good case for GEO-Centricity - that the Earth is the center of the universe. If we circumnavigate the Sun, we would already SEE the opposite side.