Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

RHESSI will use Venus transit to improve measurements of the sun's diameter

Date:
June 4, 2012
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
With the new data obtained during the Venus transit on June 5-6, 2012, the RHESSI team hopes to improve the knowledge of the exact shape of the sun and provide a more accurate measure of the diameter than has previously been obtained.

Artist rendition of RHESSI spacecraft in orbit.
Credit: NASA

The RHESSI (Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager) satellite focuses on the highest energy x-rays and gamma-rays produced by the sun, helping to observe solar flares of all shapes and sizes. The satellite is pointed toward the sun, and constantly in rotation, which provides a serendipitous bit of side research: by monitoring the limb of the sun on its four second rotation cycle, RHESSI’s Solar Aspect System (SAS) has produced ten years worth of precise measurements of the sun's diameter.

Related Articles


This has already provided scientists with one of the most accurate measurements of what's called the oblateness of the sun, which is the difference between the diameter from pole to pole and the equatorial diameter. With the new data obtained during the Venus Transit on June 5-6, 2012, the RHESSI team hopes to improve the knowledge of the exact shape of the sun and provide a more accurate measure of the diameter than has previously been obtained.

For one thing, the sharpness of the Venus disk as it crosses the sun will help determine the detailed optical properties of the telescope and calibrate the instrument’s so-called plate scale, the exact angular size of each pixel. With this improvement in hand, RHESSI can re-calibrate its already highly accurate observations of the sun's horizon. To further this aim, the science team has set the instrument to look at 64 pixels across the sun's limb, rather than its customary four.

The RHESSI team has hopes that they may be able to provide an unprecedentedly accurate measurement of the sun's size.

With ten years of solar diameter measurements as well as observations of the Venus Transit in 2004 – a time when the sun's activity was decreasing toward solar minimum, as opposed to now when the solar activity is increasing as it moves toward solar maximum predicted for 2013 – the science team hopes to compare the sun's size then and now to see if perhaps it varies with the solar cycle.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "RHESSI will use Venus transit to improve measurements of the sun's diameter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604182029.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2012, June 4). RHESSI will use Venus transit to improve measurements of the sun's diameter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604182029.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "RHESSI will use Venus transit to improve measurements of the sun's diameter." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604182029.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Hole 12 Billion Times the Size of Sun Discovered at Dawn of Universe

Black Hole 12 Billion Times the Size of Sun Discovered at Dawn of Universe

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) Scientists are saying they&apos;ve spotted a black hole 12 billion time bigger than the sun. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Spots Two Bright Points On Ceres

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Spots Two Bright Points On Ceres

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) NASA scientists still don&apos;t have a clear picture of the bright spots showing up on the surface of Ceres, a minor planet in the asteroid belt. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Astronauts Rig Station for New U.S. Space Taxis

Astronauts Rig Station for New U.S. Space Taxis

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) U.S. astronauts float outside the International Space Station to rig parking spots for two commercial space taxis. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Leaks Into Astronaut's Helmet

Water Leaks Into Astronaut's Helmet

Reuters - US Online Video (Feb. 25, 2015) A dramatic finish to a spacewalk as NASA astronaut Terry Virts&apos; helmet pools with water. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins