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 October 30, 2014 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Observers near Wallops Island recorded what they thought would be a routine rocket launch Tuesday night. What they recorded was a major rocket explosion shortly after lift off. (Oct 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Just hours after an American cargo run to the International Space Station ended in flames, a Russian supply ship has arrived at the station with a load of fresh supplies. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 29, 2014) A space education journalist is among those who witness and record the explosion of an unmanned Antares rocket seconds after its launch. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) NASA and Orbital Sciences officials say they are investigating the explosion of an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station. It blew up moments after liftoff Tuesday evening over the launch site in Virginia. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
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