Mission Information

SDO First Light Briefing
04.21.10
 
SDO Mission Logo > View Larger Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun's magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate. Since launch, engineers have been conducting testing and verification of the spacecraft’s components. SDO will provide images with clarity 10 times better than high-definition television and will return more comprehensive science data faster than any other solar observing spacecraft.





SDO First Light Briefing Presenters

  • Dean Pesnell, SDO Project Scientist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
  • Alan Title, Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) Principal Investigator, Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Philip H. Scherrer, Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) Principal Investigator, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Tom Woods, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) Principal Investigator, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
  • Madhulika Guhathakurta, SDO Program Scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.



Images and Multimedia in Support of the First Light Briefing


Presenter: Dean Pesnell, SDO Project Scientist

Screen capture from SDO launch video showing the Atlas V as the engines fire. Video: Launch of SDO
This video shows the launch of SDO from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on February 11, 2010. A rendering of SDO entering orbit and deploying its solar panels and high-gain antennas follows. Each instrument is then shown opening their doors to let the Sun in. Credit: NASA
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Screen capture from HMI video showing the SDO Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) instrument. Video: The Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager
The HMI will measure the waves rippling across the surface of the Sun and the strength and direction of the surface magnetic field. Wave data is used to create ultrasounds of the Sun, looking under the surface of the Sun to measure the winds that create the magnetic field. The magnetic field data is used to understand how the field erupts through the surface and becomes solar flares and coronal mass ejections, the storms of space weather. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
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Screen capture from EVE video showing SDO Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) instrument. Video: The Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE)
EVE will measure the spectral irradiance of the Sun at the short extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. These emissions vary quickly and also more slowly, but cause enough space weather that we call them the Heartbeat of Space Weather. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
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Image: An EVE CCD image
This EVE image is showing the raw spectral irradiance data. The ridges are summed to give the actual spectrum. The top part covers wavelengths from 20 to 5 nm (left to right) and the bottom from 37 to 17 nm (left to right. The overlap between 17 and 20 nm is used to better measure that part of the spectrum. In the lower left is a pinhole camera image of the Sun in X-rays with wavelengths between 0.1-7 nm. Credit: NASA/SDO/EVE
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Screen capture from AIA video showing the SDO Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument. Video: The SDO AIA Instrument
The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly uses four telescopes to measure images of the Sun n 10 different wavelengths. By tuning the wavelengths, AIA measures material at a wide range of temperatures. The images show solar flares, coronal mass ejections, prominence eruption, and many other phenomena at an unprecedented level of detail. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
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Screen capture from AIA video showing one of three wavelengths in which this instrument views the Sun. Video: Three AIA images from the March 30, 2010 prominence eruption
The AIA CCDs were kept hot until March 29, and as they cooled to ­70 K, this was one of the first events that was visible. Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA
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Screen capture from solar prominence video. Video: A Solar Prominence
A movie of the March 30, 2010 prominence eruption, starting with a zoomed in view. The twisting motion of the material is the most noticeable feature. The viewpoint then pulls out to show the entire Sun. Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA
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Presenter: Alan Title, Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) Principal Investigator

SDO in clean room. Image: SDO in the Clean Room Credit: NASA
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Screen capture from SDO first light video. Video: AIA First Images
Images taken immediately after the AIA CCD cameras cooled on March 30, 2010. The red images are in He II that is formed at 80,000K and in Fe IX 1,000,000K. The extent of the He II loop is equivalent to 30 Earth diameters. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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Screen capture from HMI video showing a halo CME in different wavelengths. Video: Solar Wave Associated with CME
Movies in a series of temperatures of a large fraction of the on April 8,2010. They show a wave associated with a Coronal Mass Ejection. This wave travels nearly all the way across the sun. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/HMI
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Video: The Flare that Started the Wave
Movies of the small (B 3.7) flare that started the wave. In a series of temperature, the start of the wave and the heating of the flare. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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Screen capture of SDO HMI video showing active regions in multiple wavelengths. Video: Demonstrating the Strength of AIA
A series of movies that illustrate the power of the AIA to show regions of heating and cooling. The first movies are shown in colors from blue to red, which span temperatures from 1,000,000K to 2,600,000K. The second spans the temperatures from 2,600,000K to 10,000,000K. To convert from K to F multiply by 1.8. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA
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Screen capture from SDO First Light Video. Image: Screen capture from Video 1
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Presenter: Philip H. Scherrer, Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) Principal Investigator

Screen capture from MDI Continuum movie of the Sun. Video: Full Disk Continuum on Apr. 8, 2010
This video shows the Sun in white light (shown here in false color to enhance contrast) at the time of the Coronal Mass Ejection seen in the AIA data. The small "pore" (a tiny sunspot without a penumbra) near the center east-west, and half way to top from equator, disappears at about the same time as the CME in AIA. Note that a lot may be happening in the corona without any very noticeable change in the continuum (white light). Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/HMI
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Screen capture of MDI Continuum close-up of the Sun. Video: HMI Continuum from Mar. 29, 1010
This sequence shows continuum data for about 6 hours from 8 to 14 UT on 29 March. It starts with the full disk view then zooms to the region of interest. The flicker is granulation and oscillations. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/HMI
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Screen capture of SDO Magnetogram close-up. Video: Examining the Magnetic Field with HMI
This segment shows a similar view for the same interval as above but this time in magnetic field. The lighter shading is the magnetic field directed toward the observer and darker is field away, or into the Sun at the center. Note the small rapid changes in the penumbra and near the spots. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/HMI
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Video: HMI measures the motion of the photosphere using the Doppler effect
We call this data "Dopplergrams". Here is a sequence of Dopplergrams for 2 hours and 7.5 minutes starting at about 8 UT, 29 March 2010. Light color is motion away from the observer, darker is motion toward the observer.Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/HMI
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Presenter: Tom Woods, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) Principal Investigator

Screen capture showing the solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectrum measured by the SDO Extreme ultraviolet Variability Experiment, or EVE. Video: EVE Spectrum
This movie shows the solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectrum measured by EVE. Every peak, called an emission line, has a story to tell, and thanks to the new capability of EVE we are ready to see 100s of stories unfold during each solar storm. EVE measures this spectrum every 10 seconds – the same amount of time that the movie scrolled the EUV spectrum across the screen. Credit: LASP/CU
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This image provides an overview of space weather on Earth. Image: An Overview of Space Weather on Earth
A solar flare can increase the solar EUV radiation by a factor of two or more in just a matter of a minute. Just eight minutes after a solar flare event, Earth's atmosphere receives the full blast of the flare radiation. The EUV radiation is energetic enough to break apart molecules and atoms to create our ionosphere – being charged particles in our atmosphere at about 60 miles altitude. When our ionosphere is disturbed by a solar storm, we can have disruptions in our communication and GPS navigation systems. One example is the loss of radio communication for the Katrina relief workers during a solar storm a few days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Credit: USU SWC and NOAA SWPC
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This image shows the solar X-ray monitor from the NOAA GOES satellite. Image: GOES XRS
This slide shows the solar X-ray monitor from the NOAA GOES satellite. These X-ray measurements are used to provide flare warnings and to classify how bright each flare is. This slide indicates that there was a C4 type flare at about 18:30 on March 27, 2010 - just hours after the EVE instrument opened its doors and started to make solar observations. Credit: NOAA SWPC
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This screen capture from the movie illustrates how the solar EUV irradiance, as measured by SDO EVE, varied during the C4 flare on March 27, 2010. Image: EVE Flare Movie Overview
This movie illustrates how the solar EUV irradiance, as measured by SDO EVE, varied during the C4 flare on March 27, 2010. Credit: LASP/CU
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This screen capture from the movie illustrates how the solar EUV irradiance, as measured by SDO EVE, varied during the C4 flare on March 27, 2010. Video: EVE Flare Movie
The solar X-ray image from EVE is shown in the left panel. An X-ray image only shows the active regions on the sun, so it is somewhat difficult to visualize the solar disk. But it is very easy to tell when a flare goes off as one of the dim active regions will suddenly get brighter, that is flare up.
The top right panel shows a small part of the solar EUV spectrum. As you watch the movie, you will notice that the many hot iron emission lines in the solar corona will suddenly go up and then decay down more slowly.
The bottom right panel shows the time series of just three emissions. An interesting aspect of watching the time series is that each emission has its own story to tell about the flare event. Some wavelengths rise faster than others. They peak at different times. And they decay back down at different rates.
This movie only highlights three emisisons in the time series plot, but EVE measures the full EUV spectrum, more than a hundred different emissions. Credit: LASP/CU
› Watch video (5 MB)




Presenter: Madhulika Guhathakurta, SDO Program Scientist

Screen capture showing a solar prominence via the SDO AIA instrument in tri-color. Video: SDO AIA 3-color Solar Prominence Movie
"This mission touches us on many levels. It evokes a sense of wonder when we see these fantastic images. Even long-time observers of the sun are struck by the beauty and complexity of the star SDO is revealing to us, really for the first time. It stokes our curiosity. What is the underlying cause of these magnificent eruptions? How are these multidimensional loops heated? How will they affect us? Can we learn to predict them? From these images, we can see new science unfolding in front of our eyes. For the first time since the launch of Skylab almost 4 decades ago observations are ahead of the theoretical models." Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO/AIA/LMSAL
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Screen capture of video showing a CME. Video: Animation of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)
A burst of fast material from the sun generates magnetic reconnection events in Earth's magnetic field. This eventually sends high-speed electrons and protons into Earth's upper atmosphere to form aurorae. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab
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Central image of the Sun and planet Earth with 6 photos representing aspects of modern society affected by solar variance. Image: Sun-Solar System connection
"This picture provides the rationale for why do we study the sun? The upper half shows the sun's influence on Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere, mesosphere, interaction with the atmosphere of other planets and understanding basic physical processes of magnetized plasma. The lower half shows the increasing vulnerability of human society to solar flares and coronal mass ejections." Credit: NASA
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Additional Material of Interest

Comparison of SDO image size to STEREO, SOHO, High-Definition TV and regular TV. Image: Comparison of SDO Image Size to Others Credit: NASA/GSFC
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For more SDO Imagery, please visit http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/Gallery/SDOFirstLight.html