This Week’s “Where In The Universe” Challenge

Article written: 12 Nov , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Here’s this week’s “Where In The Universe” challenge. Take a look and see if you can name where in the Universe this image is from. Give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. The new way we’re doing this challenge is that we’ll provide the image today, but won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section β€” if you dare! Check back tomorrow on this same post to see how you did. Good luck!

UPDATE (11/3): The answer has now been posted below. If you haven’t made your guess yet, no peeking before you do!!

Nice job on this one, everyone. Yes, its the sun. This image was taken back in July of 2002 of an active region of the sun. The image was produced by the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope on the island of La Palma, Spain. (I apologize, obviously that’s not a “spacecraft” and I should not have used the word “spacecraft” in the above paragraph — habits are hard to break.) These aren’t just little bumps on the sun. The structures in the dark sunspots in the upper central area of the image show distinct elevation above the dark “floor” of the sunspot. The height of the structures has been estimated by astronomers to be between 200 and 450 km, and the smallest resolvable features in the image are about 70 km in size! Wow!

I actually saw this image first on the Boston Globe’s The Big Picture, but here’s the original press release and info on this great image of the sun.

43 Responses

  1. Smail says

    Definitely the Sun, guessing it was taken by Hinode.

  2. Navneeth says

    The object’s way too easy: it’s the Sun.

    As for the instrument used to obtain the image, I know what it is, but I “cheated,” so I’ll simply post a link to my source.

    I forgot the name granules (stupid me), and so I went googling. And the first entry I click, guess what appeared! πŸ™‚

    If it weren’t for the link, I would have guessed that this was (at least the granules part) was a result from sort of helio-seismo-graph.

  3. Jones says

    Looks like a view of the surface of the sun.

  4. Navneeth says

    That’s an amazing picture, BTW. The resolution and the depth was the reason I thought it not a “real” picture.

  5. Joe Shobe says

    Its the Sun, but what’s the dang name of those two orbiters… HELIOS somthing or other? If you could handle the heat, what would expect its surface consistency to be? I imagine a very thinned-out lava-like flowing oozie stuff you could swim in.

  6. Liede-Marie says

    A filament of plasma connecting the two magnetic poles of sunspot 1008. Magnetograms of the active region reveal a N-S polarity characteristic of Solar Cycle 24: this is a new-cycle sunspot. Within the last two days.

  7. RapidEye says

    No doubt it is the sun and at first thought it was Hinode, but now think it is that Swedish scope. (how that for covering my bases) πŸ˜‰

  8. Charles Vane says

    I think Smail is right, it’s gotta be Hinode just based on the resolution.

  9. Jorge says

    This one is easy: the Sun.

    I’m not entirely sure about the spacecraft, though: there are a number of them out there peeking at the sun. But I’m going to tentatively say Soho.

  10. Don Alexander says

    Well, the Sun, that was totally easy…

    The bonus question was harder, but I guessed it was not Hinode (well, that was my first thought) but the SST….

    So actually, it’s very misleading to ask “what spacecraft is it from”…

  11. IBY says

    The sun!!! My favorite aspect of the picture is the magnetic lines around the sunspots.

    I don’t know anything about space probes, except some of the famous ones, so I can’t say.

  12. PaulS says

    It’s the Sun! From SOHO?

  13. Liede-Marie says

    Solarsoft’s latest events from LMSAL with event identifications based on recent EUV and Soft X-ray imaging. This is LMSAL’s GOES soft X-ray plotting routine.

    Latest H-alpha and 6122 continuum images from the Improved Solar Observing Optical Network (ISOON) at NSO / Sacramento Peak Observatory.

  14. jprlk says

    surface of the sun taken by soho

  15. Niki says

    The Sun by SOHO πŸ™‚

  16. John says

    It is the Sun, the hottest place of the Earth.

  17. Haplo says

    Only dream I ever have. Is it the surface of the Sun? Every time I shut my eyes, it’s always the same.

  18. Adam says

    OK, so it’s a trick question. “The Sun” is easy enough, but since you are referring to a “spacecraft” I was first guessing STEREO or something like this. Some looking up points to the spaceship Earth, though. This picture was taken by the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope on the island of La Palma, Spain. Some cheating then but it doesn’t say anywhere we are not allowed to look for answers elsewhere. I think I would have a strong case in a court of law! πŸ˜‰


  19. ringman says

    Definitely the Sun, idk what spacecraft though,…

  20. Assi says

    The sun πŸ™‚ but don’t know which spacecraft

  21. alfamonaro says

    It’s obviously the sun, not sure what took the image though. Btw Nancy, you’ve got to give us antipodeans the chance to get in first! Just once in a while πŸ™‚

  22. Member

    The Sun (yey!)
    Defo not an orbital observatory though, so I’d have to go with a super-duper ground-based observatory. As for which one? I have no clue πŸ™‚

    Cheers, Ian

  23. Space Freak says

    Ah, the faithful viewers of the Astronomy Picture of the Day have seen this one. It’s the sun and the “instrument” is the new Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope. That is certain!

  24. liberum says

    Seems like the Sun, image by SOHO.

  25. M83 says

    I am going to guess SOHO as well.

  26. marcellus says

    It’s the Sun. I bet Hinode took the picture.

  27. Vino says

    Sun taken by SOHO!!

  28. Vincent says

    Image of an active solar region taken on July 24, 2002 near the eastern limb of the Sun.

    Not sure if its in space, but I think its taken by the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST)

  29. Harry says

    Too easy. The Sun.

  30. gatelli says

    sun ! sun ! sun !

  31. Vino says


    Thanks for those amazing pics all in one place…

  32. RL says

    Maybe the third week in a row is the charm!

    My guess is — the Sun and the spacecraft is SOHO.

    Now I wait (and look at the other answers above)!

  33. Jesper says

    This is the surface of the sun. Don’t know which spacecraft…

  34. Jamie Kitchen says

    Its the sun. The spacraft is earth and the instrument is the Swedish Solar Observatory which has adaptive optics.


  35. Dankwa says

    Looks like the surface of our own dear Sun. Spacecraft: no idea.

  36. Rafael says

    Looks a little like the top of a crΓ¨me brΓ»lΓ©e dessert, but it’s definitely the sun. πŸ™‚

  37. neoguru says

    Woo hoo! Got it!

  38. Kootstar says

    Procyon– I knew it was the Sun, but without checking your reference I guessed SOHO. Mea culpa!

  39. Balaji says

    this is very easy…
    it is the sun…
    taken by SOHO

  40. Robert R says

    This is the easiest one yet.

    It’s the Sun. I’ll guess by SOHO.

  41. amit says

    it is the surface of the sun as dark spots make that cleart.and it was tken by soho it has amazing resolution

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