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NASA Space Science

NASA Releases First 3D Images of the Sun 80

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the break-out-the-glasses dept.
mvar writes "On Feb. 6th, NASA's twin STEREO probes moved into position on opposite sides of the sun, and they are now beaming back uninterrupted images of the entire star—front and back. 'For the first time ever, we can watch solar activity in its full 3-dimensional glory,' says Angelos Vourlidas, a member of the STEREO science team at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC. NASA released a 'first light' 3D movie on, naturally, Super Bowl Sunday."
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NASA Releases First 3D Images of the Sun

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  • even through glasses, but are we allowed to look at the sun through 3D glasses?

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Monday February 07, 2011 @11:55AM (#35126810)

    STEREO, as the name suggests, has been broadcasting 3D images of the sun since it launched many, many years ago. the satellites had slightly (and increasingly) different viewpoints, which could then be combined to give a binocular view of the sun. The long-term mission was to put the satellites at opposite sides of the sun for continuous coverage of the surface, a position in which they cannot generate 3D images of it because their perspectives are completely exclusive. That is what has been achieved.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      (I should say anything above the limb of the sun to one satellite is above the limb to the other satellite as well, and can be viewed stereoscopically. They're only mutually exclusive for the sun itself.)

    • by sznupi (719324)
      Stereoscopy (!="3D") isn't particularly attractive for such, quite "smooth" for the distances involved, almost-sphere anyway...

      But what they now achieved is very much 3D - we can have a decent, current 3D model of whole Sun (well, polar regions most likely suffer major loss of detail, as well as lowest latitudes which aren't at any given point in "head on" view)
    • by sznupi (719324)
      Typical stereoscopy (!="3D") doesn't seem particularly attractive for such quite smooth almost-sphere, anyway...

      But what we have now is very much a 3D model of current state of the whole Sun (well, polar regions probably suffer major loss of detail, as well as more equatorial regions which are at a given moment viewed from very acute angles)
      • by sznupi (719324)
        (apologies for, essentially, double posting; after the 2nd, above, it turned out it wasn't my failure, but some hiccup of the discussion system...)
    • 4 years, 3 months, and 12 days is a little shy of what I would term "many, many years."
    • by flex941 (521675)

      It's pretty obvious from released material that there should be at least 3 satellites orbiting...

      • It's pretty obvious from released material that there should be at least 3 satellites orbiting...

        The 3rd "satellite" is Earth.

        • by flex941 (521675)

          Well, it's not as well positioned as the other two. They should do something about it.

    • by forand (530402)
      I think you are missing a key adjective in your reading of the quote.

      For the first time ever, we can watch solar activity in its full 3-dimensional glory

      Emphasis mine. Previous 3-D images did not contain the full surface of the Sun as the two probes would have to be on opposite sides of the Sun to achieve such. They are now and thus there is no missing portion of the surface of the Sun. The page name also says it all:

      First Ever STEREO Images of Entire Sun

      I would also point out that the second link ma

    • by pablo_max (626328)

      So has the sun, as it turns out. Also, for a bit longer I think.

    • by Trogre (513942)

      ...which means that we now have a 3D model of the sun at any point in time for as long as these probes have been opposite each other. You can now in theory load this model into Blender or Celestia and view the sun from any angle, not just from two fixed viewpoints. Hell, you could build one out of papier mache if you wanted.

      This is true 3D, as opposed to stereoscopic (think 3D films) which was all we had when the probes were close together, and so far as I know the first time this has been done.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I keep trying to cross my eyes, but I still don't see it.

  • Especially since, in 4 billion years, it will turn the planet into a crisp ember. Of course humans will probably have moved-on by then, but in 50 billion years ALL the stars will have burnt-out to dying red embers.

    Then what do we do? "This..... all of this was for nothing." - sinclair, B5

    • That's not exactly true. [wikipedia.org]
    • 50 billion years ALL the stars will have burnt-out to dying red embers.

      Then what do we do?

      I guess that is best a problem that we leave to future generations to solve. I ain't certainly going to be around to worry about it. Kinda sorta like that nuclear waste that the US is doing with the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. If the folks haven't learned in 50 billion years from how to deal with this stuff . . . well then, fuck 'em. Lazy bastards. Maybe the great-great-recursion-needed grandson of Steven Hawking will figure a way to light up a new sun.

      That sure makes a great famil

    • Will mankind one day without the net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full youthfulness even after it had died of old age?
      Or maybe it could be put more simply like this: How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Especially since, in 4 billion years, it will turn the planet into a crisp ember. Of course humans will probably have moved-on by then, but in 50 billion years ALL the stars will have burnt-out to dying red embers.

      Then what do we do? "This..... all of this was for nothing." - sinclair, B5

      Way to add to my 30-year old crisis...

      • >>>30-year old crisis...

        Yeah. It's all pretty much pointless. Might as well say "frak it all" and go screw as many women as you can..... kinda like Assange does. ;-)

  • Why is it natural for NASA to release a 3D image of the Sun on Super Bowl Sunday?

    In related news, the Super Bowl hit a record high of eight accused sexual predators on the field at the same time.

    • Why is it natural for NASA to release a 3D image of the Sun on Super Bowl Sunday?

      In related news, the Super Bowl hit a record high of eight accused sexual predators on the field at the same time.

      Uh, because it's SuperBowl SUNday... duh..

    • by Locke2005 (849178)

      In related news, the Super Bowl hit a record high of eight accused sexual predators on the field at the same time.

      At least that explains why neither team brought cheerleaders...

      Other than Rothlisberger, who were the other sexual predators?

    • The press release was originally scheduled for Wednesday, so they'd have time to get the data down from the spacecraft, and generate the maps necessary for making the movies as if the camera were flying around the sun. Note at the bottom of the story:

      http://geeked.gsfc.nasa.gov/?p=5147 [nasa.gov]

      You'll be hearing much more about this from NASA and gogblog as we approach February 9.

      Unfortunately, someone leaked to the press last week that the spacecraft would get 360 degree coverage, and so they moved up the press co

  • ...with remaining eye.
  • by gsslay (807818) on Monday February 07, 2011 @12:31PM (#35127138)

    At long last Planet X can be revealed!

    If we can see all the way around the sun, Planet X can never hide behind it again, or sneak out from behind it when we're asleep and crash into the Earth. Thanks NASA!

  • That the sun is quite hot, and there are no aliens hiding behind it. Of course, they forgot to put cameras watching the cameras.
  • by Chapter80 (926879) on Monday February 07, 2011 @12:57PM (#35127396)

    Whose bright idea was this?

  • ...Google Maps?
  • Avatar ignited a 3D movie craze, now everybody has to imitate James Cameron... even NASA! As for myself, I'll still be watching movies of the sun in 2D, thank you very much!
  • The sun was a sphere, not a cylinder? Damn.

  • Now we can start looking for good landing sites.

    I'm sure that some internet company will have sold off all the good bits long before the first possible mission can get there, like they are doing with the stars, and all the good bits will have been recorded in a book to be stored in the Library of Congress (and no where else).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to the artist's rendition, we can expect the sun to be partially in shadow... ;-P

  • http://www.ufopicture.org/soho_ufo_pictures.html [ufopicture.org]

    This was desperately needed because these pictures are crap.

    Frankly, they look about as detailed as this: http://www.spaceshooter.com/games/screenshot.php?pid=34&shot=5 [spaceshooter.com]
  • doing this while still covering up the exsitence of Antichthon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Earth [wikipedia.org]. Mad Photoshop skills.
  • Yes, but when will they release pictures of the sun in Imax?

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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