New Way Of Looking At The Sun: See it in Extreme Ultraviolet Light To Show Solar Plasma

May 29, 2012

Here is one of NASA’s latest videos of the surface of the sun — but it’s not just any video showing coronal mass ejections. This video was shot using a specific “extreme ultraviolet light” to best showcase the plasma in the sun’s atmosphere, also known as the corona.

Peacock, active region

The corona reaches 600,000 Kelvin. In case you have forgotten sophomore chemistry, 273.16K is equivalent to 32.02 degrees F. To figure out the equivalent of Kelvins to degrees Fahrenheit an you multiply Kelvins by (9/5) and then subtract 459. The temperature of the corona is 1,079,540.33 degrees F.

Check out the video, which Gizmodo describes as “our sun like you have never seen it before:”

This video takes SDO images and applies additional processing to enhance the structures visible. While there is no scientific value to this processing, it does result in a beautiful, new way of looking at the sun. The original frames are in the 171 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet. This wavelength shows plasma in the solar atmosphere, called the corona, that is around 600,000 Kelvin. The loops represent plasma held in place by magnetic fields. They are concentrated in “active regions” where the magnetic fields are the strongest. These active regions usually appear in visible light as sunspots. The events in this video represent 24 hours of activity on September 25, 2011.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:

According to NASA’s description, “there is no scientific value” to the image processing that was used to enhance the structures in this video, but “it does result in a beautiful, new way of looking at the sun.”

In the video, the loops you see are plasma “held in place by magnetic fields,” according to NASA. In visible light, these are considered sunspots.





NASA | SDO: Year 2

May 6, 2012

If your hardware and network supports, turn on the full HD views. Download if you must. Show your kids!!!

Here is the anniversary video … First there was SOHO, and now there is SDO. Keeping a close watch on our star.

April 21, 2012 marks the two-year anniversary of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) First Light press conference, where NASA revealed the first images taken by the spacecraft. This video highlights just some of the amazing events witnessed in SDO’s second year.

Learn more about this video at:

Despite our narrow minded food stamp president, NASA dreams big science. In this awesome new short, NASA presents the Earth, the planets, the Sun, and the endless universe beyond. Come for the cool, stay for the music, take away a sense of wonder to share. It’s six minutes from Earth to forever, and you can see it here!

Obama sees himself as the candy man, in the same vein as Hugo Chavez sees himself … The ticket to ride for lifelong dictatorship. The Democrat’s dream for the forever dependent nation. Food stamp cattle, set for the picking.

I see America as a free nation, composed of dreams, endowed by their creator with free will. No need for a nanny overseer in my vision. Just freedom.

Catching a Comet Death on Camera

February 1, 2012

A “sun grazing” comet as caught by SOHO’s LASCO C2 camera as it dived toward the sun on July 5 and July 6, 2011. SOHO is the overwhelming leader in spotting sungrazers, with over 2000 spotted to date, aided by the fact that the sun’s bright light is itself blocked out by a coronograph. Credit: SOHO (ESA & NASA)

On July 6, 2011, a comet was caught doing something never seen before: die a scorching death as it flew too close to the sun. That the comet met its fate this way was no surprise – but the chance to watch it first-hand amazed even the most seasoned comet watchers.

“Comets are usually too dim to be seen in the glare of the sun’s light,” says Dean Pesnell at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who is the project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO), which snapped images of the comet. “We’ve been telling people we’d never see one in SDO data.”

But an ultra bright comet, from a group known as the Kreutz comets, overturned all preconceived notions. The comet can clearly be viewed moving in over the right side of the sun, disappearing 20 minutes later as it evaporates in the searing heat. The movie is more than just a novelty. As detailed in a paper in Science magazine appearing January 20, 2012, watching the comet’s death provides a new way to estimate the comet’s size and mass. The comet turns out to be somewhere between 150 to 300 feet long and have about as much mass as an aircraft carrier.

“Of course, it’s doing something very different than what aircraft carriers do,” says Karel Schrijver, a solar scientist at Lockheed Martin in Palo Alto, Calif., who is the first author on the Science paper and is the principal investigator of the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument on SDO, which recorded the movie. “It was moving along at almost 400 miles per second through the intense heat of the sun – and was literally being evaporated away.”

Typically, comet-watchers see the Kreutz-group comets only through images taken by coronagraphs, a specialized telescope that views the Sun’s fainter out atmosphere, or corona, by blocking the direct blinding sunlight with a solid occulting disk. On average a new member of the Kreutz family is discovered every three days, with some of the larger members being observed for some 48 hours or more before disappearing behind the occulting disk, never to be seen again. Such “sun-grazer” comets obviously destruct when they get close to the sun, but the event had never been witnessed.

The journey to categorizing this comet began on July 6, 2011 after Schrijver spotted a bright comet in a coronagraph produced by the SOlar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). He looked for it in the SDO images and much to his surprise he found it. Soon a movie of the comet circulated to comet and solar scientists, eventually making a huge splash on the Internet as well.

Karl Battams, a scientist with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, who has extensively observed comets with SOHO and is also an author on the paper, was skeptical when he first received the movie. “But as soon as I watched it, there was zero doubt,” he says. “I am so used to seeing comets simply disappearing in the SOHO images. It was breathtaking to see one truly evaporating in the corona like that.”

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