NASA SDO Launches: Bono’s Not the Only One Staring at the SunBy Chris Weiss
Earlier this morning, at 10:23 EST, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory launched from Cape Canaveral. The spacecraft will shrug off the advice of mothers and elementary school teachers everywhere and stare directly into the sun during the course of its mission. The objective is to gather more information about our life-giving star.
The SDO will use three instruments to observe the sun at resolution that makes your HD television look like a black-and-white from the 1960s–it’ll be 10x the resolution of HD. The mission will help scientists better understand and predict solar flares, which can cause problems with satellites and power here on Earth.
One of the scientists working on SDO Dean Pesnell explained:”Our sun affects our lives more and more as we depend more and more on technology. We would like to predict this magnetic field, to predict what’s going to happen in solar activity and to say a solar flare is coming.”
Like nearly everything else in 2010, the SDO will even have its own free iPhone app–3D Sun– updated with 3D imagery. The SDO mission will last five years, and will get started taking images in two months, after calibration and testing. [via MSNBC]