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Monday, February 7, 2011

VIDEO ADDED: NASA Releases First 360-Degree View of Entire Sun

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NASA Releases First 360-Degree View of Entire Sun

Published February 06, 2011
Space.com 
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NASA has released the first 360-degree view of the entire sun.

The photo comes courtesy of NASA's twin STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) spacecraft, which aligned exactly opposite each other on opposite sides of the sun to capture the image.

The ability to see the whole sun, front to back, will allow scientists to better understand complicated solar weather patterns and plan for future robotic or crewed spacecraft missions throughout the solar system, researchers said.

"The sun is a truly complex object which influences many aspects of our lives," Richard Harrison, principal investigator for the U.K. instruments on STEREO, said in a statement. "In the same way that you would not expect to understand the workings of the brain by studying just a small part of it, a global investigation into the nature of our star as a complete object is essential to understanding how it works."

Harrison is also co-investigator of NASA's SDO mission (Solar Dynamics Observatory), which contributed to the new 360-degree view with high-resolution sun photos taken from orbit.

Scientists particularly want to better predict space weather and the violent eruptions that can spout from the sun's surface. These eruptions can damage satellites, disrupt communications and disable power systems on Ear
th.

. Click Here to Read More.

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