Solar Spacecraft and Telescopes
(Sunrise) is a project to study the Sun, led by the
Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in collaboration with NASA,
the Particle Physics and Astronomy
Research Council (PPARC), and the European
Space Agency (ESA). Hinode's three year mission is to explore the magnetic
fields of the Sun, and improve our understanding of the mechanisms that
power the solar atmosphere and drive solar eruptions.
STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations
(Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) is the third mission in NASA's
Solar Terrestrial Probes program (STP). This two-year mission will provide
a unique and revolutionary view of the Sun-Earth System. The two nearly
identical observatories - one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing
behind will trace the flow of energy and matter from the Sun to Earth
as well as reveal the 3D structure of coronal mass ejections and help us
understand why they happen.
SDO -- The Solar Dynamics Observatory
SDO is the follow-one to great SOHO solar observatory. Launched on February 11, 2010, the 3 instruments on SDO hope to study and gauge the
dynamic processes that influence space weather phenomena.
Visit our SDO Page
SOHO -- The SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory
This magnificent spacecraft observatory was launched in late 1995:
SOHO, developed jointly by NASA and ESA (the European Space Agency) contains
12 separate instruments designed to study the internal structure of the Sun,
its extensive outer atmosphere, and the origin of the solar wind, that stream
of highly ionized gas that blows continuously outward through our solar system.
The Yohkoh X-ray Satellite
SOHO rivals the Hubble Space Telescope in complexity, and very nearly
in cost. However, unlike the HST, SOHO orbits the Sun, coasting along 1,000,000
miles from Earth, about 4 times as far from us as the Moon. Because the
Sun never sets on SOHO, the observatory can give us our first long term,
uninterrupted view of the Sun, unplagued by solar astronomers' nemesis --
SOHO will help us to understand the interactions between the Sun and the
Earth's environment better than has ever been possible. Its legacy may enable
scientists to solve some of the most perplexing riddles about the Sun, including
the heating of the solar corona, the acceleration of the solar wind, and
the physical conditions of the solar interior.
Instruments on SOHO provide most of the data and images for our SOLAR
The Yohkoh satellite, now lost, orbited high above the Earth for
nine years exploring the Sun in X-rays. The dazzling red and yellow images
it produced helped the world see the Sun as the variable and dynamic star
Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG)
Another way to obtain 24-hour-a-day coverage of the Sun is to set
up a network of sites around the Earth, each taking its turn at observations
during the local daylight. The GONG Project is such a network -- a community-based
program of six telescopes located at strategic points around the Earth. GONG
is conducting detailed studies of the solar internal structure and dynamics.
The Wilcox Solar Observatory
Stanford's Wilcox Solar Observatory began measuring the Sun's global
magnetic field in May 1975, to understand changes in the Sun and how those
changes affect the Earth. Now low-resolution maps are also made of the Sun's
magnetic field each day, as are observations of solar surface motions. The
observatory is located in the foothills just west of the Stanford University
The Transition Region And Coronal Explorer (TRACE) mission enables
solar physicists to study the connections between fine-scale magnetic fields
and the associated plasma structures on the Sun. TRACE produces superb vivid
and detailed imagey of the magnetic fields on the Sun.