Some News to do with Our Sun

I seem to be reading quite a number of stories to do with our Sun lately, so I thought I’ll write a quick summary about them.

Firstly, is this amazing sunspot image from the New Solar Telescope (NST) at Big Bear Solar Observatory located in Big Bear Lake, California high in the San Bernardino Mountains, US.

Credit: Big Bear Solar Observatory

This photo of a sunspot is the most detailed ever obtained in visible light, thanks to the technology of adaptive optics. The NST has 97 actuators that made up the deformable mirror to correct for atmospheric distortion. By the summer next year, the observatory will have upgraded the current adaptive optics system to one utilizing a 349 actuator deformable mirror.


Next, is from SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory). If you are a regular reader of, you’ll notice that in the past few months, almost all of the amazing solar images are from SDO. What to do, we are talking about the “Hubble for the Sun” here!

Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory

This prominence was produced when departing sunspot 1105 erupted as it was turning away from us, producing a C3-class solar flare and hurled a bright CME (coronal mass ejection) into space. Click here for movie.

The eruption taken in the extreme UV was combined into a multiwavelength movie that did not show the familiar Sun that we are used to see. We are not able to see the action with our eyes anyway, because the extreme UV colours are far beyond the limits of our vision.


Next story is regarding a plan to visit the Sun. Last week, NASA had selected five key science investigations for the Solar Probe+ spacecraft, planned to launch no later than 2018. Solar Probe+ is going where no spacecraft has gone before, it will “touch, taste and smell” the Sun (to quote Lika Guhathakurta, Solar Probe+ program scientist at NASA HQ). It will plunge directly into the atmosphere of the Sun, aiming to solve some of the biggest mysteries of solar physics.

What will we find there? Some answers to our long-standing questions about our star, I guess, and definitely more questions and puzzles that we had never think of.


~ by thChieh on September 12, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: