New solar satellite now live, online - Tucson News Now

New solar satellite now live, online

Source: NASA Source: NASA

By Erin Jordan - bio | email

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - The Solar Dynamics Observatory is a brand new satellite that will monitor energy output from the sun. 

This satellite successfully launched this year and today it goes live for all to see!

Check out the Solar Dynamics Observatory live online.

SDO will study how solar activity is created and how space weather results from that activity.

Measurements of the sun's interior, magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the irradiance will help meet the objectives of the SDO mission.

SDO will improve our understanding of the physics behind the activity displayed by the sun's atmosphere, which drives space weather in the heliosphere, the region of the sun's influence, and in planetary environments.

The sun's 11-year cycle of activity is driven by the change in polarity of sun's magnetic dipole.

The magnetic field lines run from pole to pole of the sun, and over an 11-year time period they "turn inside out" to switch the polarity.

The field lines get scrambled during the inversion, resulting in the loops of magnetic reconnection observed in NASA's Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) science images.

The extent of solar activity is associated with the amount of scrambling.

Inside the field lines, at the center of the sun, is the sun's dynamo.

Particles and ionizing radiation from these solar storm events propagate to Earth and enter at Earth's poles.

In some instances, aurora result.

The increased particles and radiation produce space-weather effects such as changing the ionizing radiation doses for passengers and electronics on polar aircraft flights, disabling satellites, causing power grid failures, and disrupting signals for the global positioning system, television, and telecommunications.

Understanding the science of space weather can lead to a capability to predict space weather.

This capability will allow us to accommodate or mitigate the effects of space weather.

SDO will determine how the sun's magnetic field is generated, structured, and converted into violent solar events that cause space weather.

SDO observations start in the interior of the sun where the magnetic field that is the driver for space weather is created.

Next, SDO will observe the solar surface to directly measure the magnetic field and the solar atmosphere to understand how magnetic energy is linked to the interior and converted to space weather-causing events.

Finally, SDO will measure the extreme ultraviolet irradiance of the sun that is a key driver to the structure and composition of Earth's upper atmosphere.

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