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Feb 12, 2011

For the First Time In Human History We Have a View of the Entire Sun

NASA was only able to directly view the Earth-facing side of the Sun. We could see solar storms as they happened, but not necessarily as they developed. Now, thanks to STEREO, we can see all sides simultaneously.

Our limited view was due to the fact that the Sun's roughly 27-day rotation hid the far side from our current crop of observational instruments, like the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO. The SDO and its companion the Michelson Doppler Imager, while invaluable, can only produce a reconstruction of the activity on the far side of the Sun.

In a technologically-dependent world such as ours, this limited view was dangerous. Solar storms and coronal mass ejections, commonplace in our solar system, could easily build on the unmonitored far side of the Sun before launching toward Earth to knock out our satellites and on-world electronics. We could be, and have been, caught unaware.

To better prepare for these storms, NASA launched STEREO in 2006. Short for the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, this pair of spacecraft follows Earth's orbit—one ahead and one behind—to offer unprecedented views of our life-giving Sun. As of today, they've finally reached a point along our orbit that gives a full 360-degree view of the Sun:

The current mission will continue for another eight years before STEREO A and B switch places on the far side of the Sun, and begin again.

30 comments:

Dwrek said...

Awesome, I actually feel much safer now! Whoo!!

Choms1337 said...

yes this is very nice :D

AWLBlogs said...

Yea i heared about it. People dont realize how hard it is to capture all the light and show it in high quality.

Donkote said...

thats awesome! will the release the actual photo?

thatinsidejoke said...

wow this is a great blog!

beyondhiphop said...

so whats it do?!


-metalcore

Ramsay said...

Wow that's great news actually! Be sure to post pictures if they decide to publish them.

Morphen said...

dAT'S friggin' cool man.

Thuganomics said...

i can't wait until we can explore more of our system

Con Queso said...

Pretty interesting. Should prove to be useful in the future for NASA.

Neuro said...

It's pretty crazy it took us this long to manage this

Lexingtonian said...

Yeah, actually seeing the pictures would be really neat.

Consider_The_Following said...

Hmm interesting. I wonder what use it could have in the near future.

Aesop said...

Amazing! I can't wait to see maybe a 3d model of it in real-time or a 360 view in HD pictures. Great post!

MichellAnderson said...

its amazing!

Glovey said...

Must say this was a pretty interesting read. Thanks Blogger!

anon408 said...

Cool. Guess we know now that there aren't any aliens living on the other side XD

http://anon408.blogspot.com

Zoe! said...

Very exciting times we live in :)

Ciriis said...

Very interesting to read, thanks for sharing

Thom van Haren said...

Wow great, I would love to see some pics.

'Auana said...

wow thats pretty amazing, lol, now if we can only colonize mars

/runner/ said...

nice blog! :-)

Chris said...

So is the world coming to an end in 2012?

Dudemeister said...

Yay, science!

DDX said...

Good to see that NASA is actually still doing interesting things

murz90 said...

Wow, awesome!

Adolph Gingerhorn said...

the sun can still fuck us up. i got a sunburn on my face last summer. rage.

Candlej- said...

what a surreal thing to think about.. we can see the entire sun, this giant celestial body magnitudes larger than our own planet...

randomramblingggg.blogspot.com

Major.Mack said...

great! I couldnt see it all before. This is just fabulous. I feel so happy.....I could totally notice; I was near giving up but now the whole sun is visible I have something to live for!

Feirny said...

although nasa have found 50 planets that are habital and at least 6 which have water. all very interesting isnt it? ;)