NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the solar eclipse close-up from its unique vantage point in space, the only place to see the eclipse on June 29, 2022.
“At the peak of the eclipse, the moon covered 67% of the sun, and lunar mountains were backlit by solar fire,” wrote SpaceWeather.com. SDO generally views the Sun as the source of space weather, or radiation in space that affects Earth. Aspects it studies include the Sun’s magnetic field, sunspots and other factors that affect activity during the normal 11-year solar cycle. “The spacecraft’s measurements of the sun’s interior, atmosphere, magnetic field, and energy output all work to help us understand the star we live with,” NASA wrote of the mission.
SDO was launched in February 2010 and is part of the Solar Spacecraft Network of NASA and its partner agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Sun has been very active lately and is unusually early in its cycle, which should peak around 2025.
Scientists are interested in tracing the history of solar flares and the coronal ejections of charged particles that accompany them, which can create colorful auroras in the Earth’s atmosphere if coronal mass ejections are aimed at our planet. They’re usually harmless, but strong bursts can knock out satellites, power lines and other infrastructure, which is why scientists are so keen on good predictions.
As a reminder, NASA sent a solar observation mission called Parker Solar Probe to study the corona, or superheated outer region of the sun, as other satellites watch from afar to get context.
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