Tag Archives: SDO

SDO not returning data

For reasons that remain unexplained, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) did not return to science mode after it passed through the Moon’s shadow on August 2nd.

The only information about this on the SDO webpage simply states, ” The spacecraft did not go back into Science mode at the end of the transit. SDO FOT members are looking into the issue.” Spaceweather.com notes that “Since the transit no new data have appeared on SDO public websites.”

SDO has only been in orbit for six years. It would be a shame to lose it so quickly.

UPDATE: It appears that engineers are getting SDO back into operation. Hat tip James Fincannon.

SDO celebrates its fifth year in space with a time-lapse of the Sun

Cool images! In celebration of Solar Dynamics Observatory’s fifth year in space observing the Sun, the scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center have released a time-lapse movie showing the Sun for the past five years.

Video below the fold. It is astonishing and hypnotic. The movie images were taken one image every 8 hours beginning in 2010. If you compare the Sun at the beginning of the movie with the end, you can see the slow shifting of sunspots/flares from higher to equatorial latitudes, as is normal as the solar cycle ramps up to solar maximum and beyond.
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Using Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), scientists have finally identified the Sun’s predicted giant jet streams.

Using Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), scientists have finally identified the Sun’s predicted giant jet streams.

These large flows, bigger than any flow structures previously identified, might help explain the Sun’s rotation (which is faster at the equator than at the poles), its magnetic field, and its production of sunspots. Not surprisingly, however, the models and data do not match exactly:

Mark Miesch, a physicist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, says the new study confirms modelling work he and others have done on giant convective cells4. There are, however, some differences between what the models suggest and what Hathaway’s team observed. For instance, the models indicate that giant cells should align themselves from north to south near the Sun’s equator, an arrangement that isn’t seen in the new data. In fact, points out solar physicist Junwei Zhao of Stanford University in California, most of the giant cells were seen at high latitudes, and they need to be spotted at lower latitudes as well. “Whether it will convince the community remains to be seen,” says Zhao.

Three years of Solar Dynamics Observatory images of the Sun — in three minutes.

Three years of Solar Dynamics Observatory images of the Sun — in three minutes.

I’ve posted the video below the fold. It’s quite cool.

Note that these images cover the period when the Sun was ramping up to what was hoped to be a strong solar maximum, when SDO was being designed and built. And though the Sun does appear to be active in these images, it is actually far less active than it has been for solar maximums going back at least a century.

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