NASA Looks Into The Eyes Of The Sun - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud // Cloud Storage

NASA Looks Into The Eyes Of The Sun

Space agency launches orbiting observatory that will capture IMAX-quality images of Earth's star.

Ignoring rocker Bruce Springsteen's mother's advice, NASA on Thursday launched a space-born observatory that will stare directly into the sun in hopes of learning more about what makes our solar system's star tick.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory was perched atop an Atlas V rocket that thundered skyward early Thursday from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the Atlantic coast. NASA said the spacecraft was "in good shape" midway through its launch trajectory.

Ultimately, the SDO will hover over Earth in a geosynchronous orbit for five years at more than 22,000 miles above the planet's surface, NASA said.

The observatory will then point its instruments directly at the sun in order to measure the star's magnetic activity and collect other data. "The research is expected to reveal the sun's inner workings by constantly taking high-resolution images of the sun," NASA said.

Indeed, SDO will capture images in a spatial resolution of 4096 x 4096 pixels to deliver pictures that are almost IMAX quality in terms of sharpness and clarity, "providing details of the sun and its features that have rarely been seen before," according to NASA.

The space agency said it hopes data yielded by the SDO will give scientists the ability to predict storms, sun spots, winds and other solar activity that can interfere with communications and other activity on Earth and affect orbiting spacecraft and satellites.

The SDO's launch comes at a time when NASA is under budgetary pressure to redirect funds from manned space missions to more Earth-bound areas of focus, such as climate change.

President Obama's budget request for the current fiscal year would terminate the Constellation program, which calls for NASA to return humans to the moon no later than 2020.

Still, it appears NASA will continue research on the sun. After all, as Springsteen told his mama, that's where the fun is.

Download the first issue of InformationWeek Government, with our cover story on government transparency. Get it here. (Registration required.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll