An Out of This World Birthday!

by / Friday, 11 February 2011 / Published in Blog - Space Log

Today at Janet’s Planet Space Log, we’re wishing NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) a Happy 1stBirthday…won’t you celebrate with us by enjoying this virtual cupcake? Exactly one year ago today, the SDO was launched into space from Cape Canaveral on an Atlas rocket. During its first year, the observatory has sent back millions of pictures of the sun and information to help scientists understand it better.

The SDO has three instruments on board and one of these is called the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly. The AIA takes a picture of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. That’s 5 pictures every minute! Even more than are taken of the most famous movie stars. You can actually go online and see these sun images, but just make sure to get your parents’ permission.

Scientists are happy that people have taken such an interest in the pictures. The sun has many different effects on our planet and it is good to better understand how it works. One event that takes place on the sun that scientists are learning more about is called a solar flare. Solar flares are huge explosions on the sun’s surface that emit X-rays. Scientists at NASA can use the Solar Dynamics Observatory to learn more about these complicated space happenings.

So Happy Birthday SDO! You might be only one year old, but you sure have accomplished many things in a short time! Keep it up…we’ll be watching!

Visit here for more images of the sun taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory!