Saturday, July 27, 2013

NASA Telescope IRIS Snaps 1st Photos of Sun

A still image from the first movie captured by the IRIS solar observatory, 21 hours after mission controllers opened the telescope’s door.


NASA's newest solar observatory has taken its first photos of the lowest layers of the solar atmosphere, a mysterious and little-understood region of the sun.

The images, taken just 21 hours after mission controllers first opened the telescope’s door, reveal new details of the sun’s lower atmosphere — an area known as the "interface region."

The IRIS spacecraft (short for Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) captured images of thin magnetic structures and streams of material in the solar atmosphere.

These early observations suggest tremendous amounts of energy flow through the interface region, according to NASA officials.

"With this grand opening of the telescope door and first observations from IRIS, we've opened a new window into the energetics of the sun's atmosphere," John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. "We look forward to the new insights IRIS will provide."

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