This Week’s “Where In The Universe” Challenge

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 Replies to “This Week’s “Where In The Universe” Challenge”

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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˜‰

  6. 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.

  7. 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”…

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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˜‰


  11. 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™‚

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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)

  15. 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)!

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


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

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

  19. 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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