Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory into focus

Date:
October 5, 2012
Source:
NASA
Summary:
From Sept. 6 to Sept. 29, 2012, NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) moved into its semi-annual eclipse season, a time when Earth blocks the telescope's view of the sun for a period of time each day. Scientists choose orbits for solar telescopes to minimize eclipses as much as possible, but they are a fact of life -- one that comes with a period of fuzzy imagery directly after the eclipse.

During an eclipse, lack of heat from the sun causes the window in front of SDO’s Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) to change shape. This causes a blurry image for about 45 minutes after Earth finishes its transit across the sun, as shown on the left. The right half shows HMI data at its usual high resolution, data which helps scientists observe sunspots and their magnetic characteristics.
Credit: NASA/SDO/HMI

From Sept. 6 to Sept. 29, 2012, NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) moved into its semi-annual eclipse season, a time when Earth blocks the telescope's view of the sun for a period of time each day. Scientists choose orbits for solar telescopes to minimize eclipses as much as possible, but they are a fact of life -- one that comes with a period of fuzzy imagery directly after the eclipse.

Related Articles


The Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on SDO observes the sun through a glass window. The window can change shape in response to temperature changes, and does so dramatically and quickly when it doesn't directly feel the sun's heat.

"You've got a piece of glass looking at the sun, and then suddenly it isn't," says Dean Pesnell, the project scientist for SDO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The glass gets colder and flexes. It becomes like a lens. It's as if we put a set of eye glasses in front of the instrument, causing the observations to blur."

To counteract this effect, HMI was built with heaters to warm the window during an eclipse. By adjusting the timing and temperature of the heater, the HMI team has learned the best procedures for improving resolution quickly. Without adjusting the HMI front window heaters, it takes about two hours to return to optimal observing.

Over the two years since SDO launched in 2010, the team has brought the time it takes to get a clear image down from 60 minutes to around 45 to 50 minutes after an eclipse. "We allocated an hour for these more blurry images," says Pesnell. "And we've learned to do a lot better than that. With 45 eclipses a year, the team gets a lot of practice."

SDO will enter its next eclipse season on March 3, 2013.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Getting NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory into focus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121005134704.htm>.
NASA. (2012, October 5). Getting NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory into focus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121005134704.htm
NASA. "Getting NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory into focus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121005134704.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What NASA Wants To Learn From Its 'Year In Space' Tests

What NASA Wants To Learn From Its 'Year In Space' Tests

Newsy (Mar. 28, 2015) Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year in space running tests on human physiology and psychology. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crew Starts One-Year Space Mission

Crew Starts One-Year Space Mission

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 28, 2015) Russian-U.S. crew arrives safely at the International Space Station for the start of a ground-breaking year-long stay. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) The Asteroid Retrieval Mission announced this week bears little resemblance to its grand beginnings. Even NASA scientists are asking, "Why bother?" Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Station Crew Docks Safely

Space Station Crew Docks Safely

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) NASA TV footage shows the successful docking of a Russian Soyuz craft to the International Space Station for a year-long mission. 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