Solar Spacecraft Gets a Little Loopy

by Nancy Atkinson on April 4, 2013

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Twice a year, the Solar Dynamics Observatory performs a 360-degree roll about the axis on which it points toward the Sun. This produces some unique views, but the rolls are necessary to help calibrate the instruments, particularly the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) instrument, which is making precise measurements of the solar limb to study the shape of the Sun. The rolls also help the science teams to know how accurately the images are aligned with solar north.

But take this rolling imagery, add some goofy music and hopefully it adds a smile to your day!

A normal view for SDO: This is the peak of a M2.5 class solar flare, which propelled plasma into space on June 7, 2011.  Credit: NASA/ Solar Dynamics Observatory,

A normal view for SDO: This is the peak of a M2.5 class solar flare, which propelled plasma into space on June 7, 2011. Credit: NASA/ Solar Dynamics Observatory,

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Bolt Crank April 4, 2013 at 7:37 PM

do a barrel roll!

Me April 5, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Yeah, like Niagara Falls huh…lol.

Me April 5, 2013 at 4:24 PM

This is my field of study. “Ole Man Sol” & all his trillions of family members in our universe. Sol has weather that can destroy our Electrical Grids to our Sats/Sat-Coms.

I am not worried, just a bit concerned w/the threat solar wind could have on our instruments like what happened in the mid-1800′s. There is also concern for all the Comets & Asteroids floating around out there. We have been fortunate so far. Our technology is a great thing, but we need more R&D to fully ramp up our defenses to their max. Take care all.

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