NASA to launch new solar satellite

This image from the joint NASA-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hinode mission shows the lower regions of the sun’s atmosphere, the interface region, which a new mission  will study in detail. Credit: NASA&JAXA/Hinode
This image from the joint NASA-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hinode mission shows the lower regions of the sun’s atmosphere, the interface region, which a new mission will study in detail. Credit: NASA&JAXA/Hinode

On June 26, NASA will launch it’s next solar satellite which the agency hopes will provide the most detailed look ever at the sun’s lower atmosphere. The spacecraft will orbit “for almost continuous solar observations” during its 2-year mission. It will carry an ultra-violet telescope that can take high-res images and catch areas as small as 150 miles across the sun.

IRIS data will fill a crucial gap in our understanding of the solar interface region upon joining our fleet of heliophysics spacecraft,” said Jeffrey Newmark, NASA’s IRIS program scientist in Washington, in a press release distributed by the agency. “For the first time we will have the necessary observations for understanding how energy is delivered to the million-degree outer solar corona and how the base of the solar wind is driven.”

From NASA:

The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission will observe how solar material moves, gathers energy, and heats up as it travels through this largely unexplored region of the solar atmosphere. The interface region, located between the sun’s visible surface and upper
atmosphere, is where most of the sun’s ultraviolet emission is generated. These emissions impact the near-Earth space environment and Earth’s climate.

 

 

 

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