These should be great – three dimensional images of the sun’s surface, revealing the structure of solar flares, priminences, and sunspot activity.
As the sun gains more significance in the eyes of researchers examing the possible causes of terrestrial climate change (see more On Solar Variability and Global Warming), these three dimensional imaging techniques stand to provide a wealth of data that could assist researchers in understanding the complex, natural cycles of the sun’s energy output.
A link to the images (if not the images themselves) will be posted to this page as soon as they become available. For more on the plans, check out this article:
NASA scientists said 3-D images of the sun taken by the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory are expanding our understanding of solar physics.
The images, to be released Monday on the Internet, television and at museums, are also expected to help improve space weather forecasting.
The observatory, called STEREO, is part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Solar Terrestrial Probes program. That 2-year mission involves two nearly identical observatories — one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind — that will trace the flow of energy and matter from the sun to Earth.
The observatories are expected to reveal the 3-D structure of coronal mass ejections — violent eruptions of matter from the sun that can disrupt satellites and power grids — and help scientists understand why they occur.
NASA said STEREO will become a key addition to the fleet of space weather detection satellites by providing more accurate alerts for the arrival time of Earth-directed solar ejections.
[tags]Astronomy, Solar Variability, Sun, NASA, Space Weather[/tags]