White Sands launch takes new look at sun - Tucson News Now

White Sands launch takes new look at sun

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Source: NASA Source: NASA

A rocket launch from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico gave NASA scientists a unique look at the sun. Onboard the rocket was the High Resolution Coronal (Hi-C) Imager telescope. The telescope captured the highest-resolution images ever taken of the sun's corona, which is the million degree Fahrenheit atmosphere that surrounds Earth's closest star.

NASA says "These images provide intriguing hints of a mechanism that likely contributes to the heating of the solar corona. For decades scientists have sought to understand why the solar atmosphere is 50 to 100 times hotter than the surface of the sun."

For HD Video of this sun plus more on this story click here.

Scientist believe the sun's corona is where solar flares originate. These flares are created from massive releases of energy. The resulting blast can send a wave of charged particles towards Earth. If that wave hits the outer atmosphere it can disrupt satellite communications and even affect power grids on Earth. NASA scientists believe the temperatures within the flares can reach 2 million to 4 million degrees Fahrenheit.

In the image below NASA says "The Hi-resolution Coronal Imager full resolution image shown here is from the solar active region outlined in the AIA image (upper left). Several partial frame images are shown including a potion of a filament channel (upper center/right), the braided ensemble (left, second from top), an example of magnetic recognition and flaring (left, third from top), and fine stranded loops (left, bottom). These Hi-C images are at a resolution of 0.2" or 90 miles. This resolution is the equivalent of resolving a dime from 10 miles away."

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