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Astronomy in the News

Mercury Summer 2010 Table of Contents

image of the sun

A full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the Sun taken by SDO on March 30, 2010. False colors trace different gas temperatures. Reds are relatively cool (about 60,000 Kelvin, or 107,500° F); blues and greens are hotter (greater than one million Kelvin, or 1,800,000° F).
Credit: NASA / GSFC / AIA.

First Light for the Solar Dynamics Observatory

NASA Science News

At an April 21, 2010, press conference in Washington DC, researchers unveiled "First Light" images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space telescope designed to study the Sun.

"SDO is working beautifully," reports project scientist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "This is even better than we could hae dreamed." As soon as SDO's telescope doors opened, the spacecraft began beaming back scenes so beautiful and puzzlingly complex that even seasoned observers were stunned.

One of the most amazing things about the observatory is its "big picture" view. SDO is able to monitor not just one small patch of the Sun, but rather the whole thing — full disk, atmosphere, surface, and even interior.

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