SDO: Solar Dynamics Observatory

SDO: Solar Dynamics Observatory

SDO: Solar Dynamics Observatory

The Solar Dynamics Observatory is a NASA Mission which has been observing the Sun since 2010.

Launched in February 11th, 2010, the observatory is a apart of the Living With the Stars (LWTS)program

The Observatory has the following roles

  1. To understand the influence of the Sun on the earth and near-Earth Space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time in many wavelengths simultaneously
  2.  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 the Earth‘s atmospheric chemistry and climate
  3. SDO has been investigating how the Sun‘s Magnetic field is generated and structure, how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the Heliosphere and Geospace in the form of solar winds, energetic particles and variations in the Solar atmosphere
  4. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on NASA‘s SDO uses FOUR telescopes working parallel to gather eight images of the SUn—cycling through 10 different wavelengths—every 12 seconds
  5. SDO will study how solar activity is created and how Space Weather comes from that activity. Measurements of the interior of the Sun, the Sun’s magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the irradiance that creates the ionospheres of the planets are our primary data products.

Instruments

SDO will fly three scientific experiments:

  • Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA)
  • EUV Variability Experiment (EVE)
  • Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI)

Each of these experiments perform several measurements that characterize how and why the Sun varies. These three instruments will observe the Sun simultaneously, performing the entire range of measurements necessary to understand the variations on the Sun.

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About SDO Spacecraft

  • SDO is a sun-pointing semi-autonomous spacecraft that will allow nearly continuous observations of the Sun with a continuous science data downlink rate of 130 Megabits per second (Mbps).
  • The spacecraft is 4.5 meters high and over 2 meters on each side, weighing a total of 3100 kg (fuel included).
  • SDO’s inclined geosynchronous orbit was chosen to allow continuous observations of the Sun and enable its exceptionally high data rate through the use of a single dedicated ground station.