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Space NASA

NASA To Explore "Secret Layer" of the Sun 75

SpaceAdmiral brings news that NASA will be launching a telescope next April, called Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Investigation (SUMI), which will examine what is called the "transition region" between the Sun's corona and the chromosphere. Scientists have studied characteristics of the Sun around this region before, but never within it. NASA notes: "It is a place in the sun's atmosphere, about 5000 km above the stellar surface, where magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin their journey to Earth, where the solar wind is mysteriously accelerated to a million mph. It is, in short, the birthplace of space weather."
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NASA To Explore "Secret Layer" of the Sun

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  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:44PM (#24896479)

    I wonder if they will be able to get some more high resolution images like:

    High resolution image of Solar Granulation []

    And some animations: Sun spot #1 [] Sun spot #2 []

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:50PM (#24896925)
    The Surface of the Sun []. Viewed using a 171 angstrom filter, the sun appears to actually have a solid surface beneath the gas layers. It also seems to be electrically active. This is one of the more fascinating astronomy sites I've seen, mainly because they don't seem to start with a bias of "what we know can't be so". That always appeals to me, especially since "what we know is 100% impossible" is something that's been proven wrong, again and again, although that doesn't seem to stop anyone from asserting that this time we really have it right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 06, 2008 @12:18AM (#24897815)

    This is one of the more fascinating astronomy sites I've seen, mainly because they don't seem to start with a bias of "what we know can't be so".

    They don't just not start there, they don't go there at all. This, of course, is what enables it to be so fascinating:

    In the space of one hundred and seventy six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over a mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old OÃlitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-pole. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo [Illinois] and New Orleans will have joined their streets together and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

    Seriously, they're saying that a select few pieces of publicaly available data prove clearly and obviously that everyone else is completely wrong, while their own "clear and obvious" explanations are completely nonsensical (for example, neon being used as a cryogenic refrigerant has nothing to do with how a solid crust on the sun can supposedly form under it).

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman