Solar Spacecraft Gets a Little Loopy

by Nancy Atkinson on April 4, 2013

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 works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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