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NASA Solar Satellite's First Sun Images

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the picture-in-the-sun dept.

NASA 103

coondoggie writes "NASA today showed off the amazing first pictures of the Sun taken from its 6,800lb Solar Dynamics Observatory flying at an orbit 22,300 miles above Earth. The first images show a variety of activity NASA says provide never-before-seen detail of material streaming outward and away from sunspots. Others show extreme close-ups of activity on the sun's surface. The spacecraft also has made the first high-resolution measurements of solar flares in a broad range of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths."

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Rather Large Image for the Article (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934128)

I believe NetworkWorld may have been less than prudent in failing to put a thumbnail in place of scaling a 4,096 x 4,096 image totaling 8.6 MB down to 300 x 400. Although I guess since they are sourcing it from nasa.gov this slashdotting is going to come at the taxpayer's expense? :-)

I didn't see a link in the article, but here's the original NASA press release [nasa.gov] .

Re:Rather Large Image for the Article (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934230)

Yeah I saw the NetWorld linkage and actually laughed a little than I realized most of you mates are IT and this level of detail for the mission should be just fine.

Re:Rather Large Image for the Article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31934646)

Re:Rather Large Image for the Article (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936262)

The previous poster wasn't bemoaning that the picture was too small. The complaint (or amusement?) was that it was scaled for display by the browser instead of being a thumbnail-sized picture pre-scaled on the server or on the page designer's workstation.

The difference, for those who don't know a thing about web design, is that a proper thumbnail is a small picture with a small file size, possibly with a link to a larger picture for details. Scaling a 4096 by 4096 picture in the browser means every page view loads a 4096 by 4096 image over the net then by default only shows the scaled size, even if the viewer doesn't choose to view the bigger picture.

If you get a few thousand hits, you get a few thousand times the difference in image file sizes between the thumbnail and the full-size image in data transfer savings by using the thumbnail. If you have a few million hits...

Link to SDO? (3, Informative)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935026)

Almost all of the links on that article refer back to crap at network world -- I'm still trying to figure out what this link is at the bottom, that claims to be "Solar Dynamics Observatory", but seems to just be a 404 to : sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/site/icon.ico

(There's no 'images' directory on that server at the top level)

I'd just appreciate it if someone were going to link to our servers that they didn't link to crap.

If you want movies, see one of :

More images -- 4096 x 4096 stills (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31943998)

Lockheed Martin (AIA PI institution) has some of the 4096 x 4096 images available:

I have no idea why they didn't match the same color tables for the 304/171/19[35] images as SOHO and STEREO.

A Link to Several Movies (4, Informative)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935752)

I found that this link [nasa.gov] provides access to several high quality movies that downloaded quite quickly. They are very interesting to watch.

Re:Rather Large Image for the Article (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935754)

If I didn't know what it was ahead of time, I'd have presumed it was an extreme close-up of Goatse.

Re:Rather Large Image for the Article (1)

hogggwallop (1333549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936120)

Yeah, why not link straight to the NASA press release anyway?

Careful! (5, Funny)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934138)

if you look at the article directly, you'll burn out your retinas!

Re:Careful! (5, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934536)

Do not look at article with remaining eye.

Re:Careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31934632)

Sadly I can no longer see what you just posted.
When is slashdot going to release their braille version?

Re:Careful! (3, Funny)

mybecq (131456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934954)

if you look at the article directly, you'll burn out your retinas!

I don't think any /. readers will be affected.

Can we look at the Sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31935524)

You know that watch/non-watch particle/wave thing... what if we look and it becomes different (as in very bad)?

Re:Careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31935606)

That's why I always /me puts on sunglasses
wear my sunglasses.

Re:Careful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31936982)

YEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

fuck the vat tax (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31934182)

The US has gone from a nation of producers to a nation of consumers (mostly consuming chinese shit). It's time for our tax laws to recognize that by dropping income tax and going to a sales tax model. Here's the problem with the VAT -- it's added at every step of the transaction. A product manufactured in the US will get hit by the VAT throughout the entire production process whereas a foreign product will only get hit by the VAT once or twice (distributor and retailer). That puts American industry at an even worse disadvantage. Meanwhile, the US's only exports (culture and debt) will escape the VAT at export time.

Predict the weather? (3, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934234)

FTA:

SDO will provide critical data that will improve the ability to predict these space weather events.

I do not know what everyone else thinks but I think that sounds pretty exciting. I can see it having a huge impact on airline and space travel.

Re:Predict the weather? (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935018)

"space weather" is a term used to refer to solar output fluctuation so the layman can understand it. It has more to do with radio and electronic systems on earth and in space than it does to earth-bound weather.

Re:Predict the weather? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935108)

I don't think not being able to predict space weather usually has a huge impact on airlines, so I'm not sure how being able to predict it would.

Re:Predict the weather? (3, Informative)

teridon (139550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935282)

Depends on the flight path. Flights that go to high latitudes (great cirle routes over the north pole) sometimes lose communications due to (currently unpredicted) solar events. They are not allowed to fly without communications, so they have to divert to more southerly routes to restore comm. Of course this takes more time and fuel -- perhaps even forcing a landing at a closer airport.

Accurate predictions of solar events would allow the airline industry to plan better.

Airlines == Polar flights (3, Informative)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935312)

The issue is that when you're flying long distances, you have the choice of either flying over the poles, or refueling mid-way. If there's a solar storm going on, everyone's exposed to a fair amount of radiation in a polar flight, and it might affect some of their instruments. Most airlines will take the refueling stop if there's a storm.

The radiation likely won't be enough to affect the average passenger, but it's the pilots who get to decide, and it's the flight crews that are exposed to radiation over and over again on these trips. ... but it'll be more important when we move to GPS for air traffic control -- GPS doesn't work when there's too much noise in that frequency band. This would mean that the FAA would have to fall back to radar, and all of the benefits they're claiming for their new system would be wiped out. (ie, need to leave more space around planes, so you can't pack the airspace as well)

Re:Airlines == Polar flights (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936134)

It's the same thing to X-Ray machines - the level of radiation for the patient is important, but negligible over its life time, while the doctors/nurses that tend to the installation are much well protected, yet the level of radiation over their life time might be signifiant.

Re:Predict the weather? (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31937654)

So what? What good is predicting if you can't do anything about it?

From the article "Such events [Coronal Mass Ejections] can expose astronauts to deadly particle doses, can disable satellites, cause power grid failures on Earth and disrupt communications." The effects of such an events seem beyond mankind's ability to mitigate beyond a simple duck-and-cover.

Re:Predict the weather? (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31939290)

Well, you'll know when to "duck and cover". Or in practical terms you'll know to shut down the critical systems on the satellites and weather out the "storm" as well as have your astronauts move to more shielded areas of the spacecraft.

Did you notice (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934274)

That little thing in the lower left side of the sun. It is a perfect rectangle. It couldn't be made in nature. It must be a door!

That's a nice corona (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934286)

I like how the corona kind of circles around and seems to open up the sun as a giant dark hole.

Oh, ew. Gah!

Pretty pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31934292)

It is nice of NASA to provide these images to view for those of us who haven't looked at the Sun with a telescope or binoculars.

Re:Pretty pictures (2, Funny)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934560)

and for those of you that have, I hear they're going to release it in braille too.

Video (3, Informative)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934344)

  There's some absolutely awesome video from SDO here [cnn.com]

  Wow.

SB

Re:Video (5, Informative)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934396)

  Better article [nasa.gov]

  This is incredible stuff. The CNN author called it "Hubble for the sun" and that's exactly what it is.

SB

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31934958)

a/v 0/10

Re:Video (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935202)

  Heh! I give it about two days before the solar prominence flare video is up on youtube, with appropriate music. If I had such talents (and time, could probably figure it out) I'd post something along those lines myself. That video is beautiful.

  I wonder if Ebert would consider things like this to be "art"?

  Myself, I think reality (nature, whatever) produces better art than anything humans will ever accomplish, both in beauty and in elegance... and certainly one-off works :=)

SB

Hubble for the sun? (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935704)

But it's in focus, without needing a servicing mission.

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31936180)

Movie seems good but couldn't get sound to work. What plugin do I need???

Holy Amounts of data! (5, Interesting)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934358)

I'd love to see the infrastructure design document from whomever is working at Solar Dynamics Observatory on what they are using for an online disk and long-term storage solution. If they are doing MOC, ingest and data processing/control all in one central location with was mentioned ITFA:

Specifically, NASA says the SDO will beam back 1.5 terabytes of data every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Annually, at it's rawest data form, they house ~548TB (0.5 petabytes)!! I work for a NASA funded land processing project, and with our MODIS ingest from GSFC [nasa.gov] and ASTER pan ingest from Japan, in 11 years, we've accumulated close to 1.5PB of data. Of course, this is trimmed down and anything we need to generate other data product levels is starting to get housed long-term, but that's a HELL of a long of volume to consume and do fantastic projects with. Hurray for science once again. At least this NASA function still is getting money, eh?

Re:Holy Amounts of data! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934546)

After knowing that the LHC has total a raw data rate of about 1 GB per second, and about 15 PB a year, nothing can impress me me that much anymore...

Re:Holy Amounts of data! (3, Informative)

teridon (139550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934814)

Sorry, you can't see the design documents! :-P

Flight operations for the spacecraft is at GSFC, while instrument operations can be done at both GSFC and at the science operations centers.

Science data is stored temporarily ( up to 30 days) at the dedicated ground stations at White Sands. The data is transferred in close to real-time (OC-3 lines for HMI/AIA, DS-3 for EVE) from there to each of the science instrument data centers (LASP for EVE, and JSOC at Stanford for HMI and AIA).

So, in this case it is the science teams (not NASA) that must store and process massive amounts of data. Perhaps obviously, none of the science data processing is done at GSFC (only engineering data).

Actually, you can find some documents online for HMI/AIA by searching Google for "jsoc sdp".

Re:Holy Amounts of data! (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935212)

MODIS, eh? Earth science (specifically, the EOS-DIS) gets an order of magnitude more money than what we have to work with in solar science.

As for data storage, there's actually more than one system Besides what was already mentioned of the store and forward at the ground station, there's then the 'SDO JSOC' (Joint Science Operations Center) which will provide storage for AIA and HMI ... but they'll be pushing the level 0 to tape after only a few days. They won't be archiving level 1 for AIA, and will have to recreate it on demand as they'll only be keeping it on disk for a week or so.. HMI lev1 products will be archived, but they're much smaller than the original data stream and more costly to process. Most scientists, however, will never touch this system. There's also a mirror at Lockheed for the AIA PI team to work off of.

The level 1 AIA and HMI products will then be distributed to a series of systems at various locations (Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory, National Solar Observatory, Goddard's Solar Data Analysis Center, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Max Planck, U.C.Lancashire, etc.) We still haven't seen the real data yet, so we have no idea how well it'll compress, and so how many days of data we'll be able to store at each site. The Virtual Solar Observatory will then serve the data from these nodes out the scientists.

There will also be a 'cutout service' running at Lockheed to provide sections of the images on demand, for those people who don't need the full-disk images, if they're just studying active regions and other smaller features..

EVE, I'm not familiar with their data system ... I think they're packing much of it into a database for direct processing. At the very least, we're planning on packing it into a database for the education and public outreach website so we can generate plots and such.

Oh ... and the 1.5TB is the compressed data stream. Between AIA & HMI, there's almost 140k images per day, 16 megapixel, 16 bits per pixel each, so closer to 4TB/day raw.

Re:Holy Amounts of data! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31937172)

At least this NASA function still is getting money, eh?

Nasa is slated for a 6% budget increase with the latest proposal that everyone was talking about.

This is a good sign (1)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934374)

that we aren't going to die out in 2012!

6800 lbs? (3, Funny)

navyjeff (900138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934402)

I'm glad they told us the weight of the satellite. That sounds like really important information. There's no way we could know if the observatory was fit for science if we didn't know it weighed more than three Volkswagens.

Re:6800 lbs? (1)

gront (594175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934430)

Still need the volume in library of congresses. Or breadboxen.

Nerds (3, Funny)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934456)

Normal guy: How much do you think that chick weighs?
Slashdot guy: How much do you think that satellite weighs?

Sounds about right.

Re:Nerds (1)

gront (594175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934490)

Well, real nerds would argue about mass, not weight. Or something.

Re:Nerds (4, Insightful)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934664)

No, real nerds would argue about the mass of the chick, right in front of her...

Re:Nerds (1)

miggyb (1537903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935260)

We discuss it in kilograms instead of pounds, though, so they usually take it as a compliment.

Re:Nerds (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936624)

Yeah, I can see it going badly if you start comparing the lass to Libraries of Congress.

Re:Nerds (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936464)

Looks like a stay m found its way into your post.

Re:Nerds (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936474)

And an r escaped from mine. Those devious consonants!

Re:Nerds (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934716)

Normal guy: How much do you think that chick weighs?
Me: About 1200g? ... Mmmhhh... chickeeenn...!

Re:Nerds (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936616)

Just goes to show how much "nerd" can affect your memory; The only real measurement applicable by a normal guy to a chick is how many puppies are fighting in the sack.

Re:6800 lbs? (1, Flamebait)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934640)

  I'm glad you posted this sarcastic response to what you regard as a insignificant piece of data in an article about an incredible new piece of hardware that's already giving us new insights about our star. Your comment truly makes reading this website worthwhile.

  Then some idiot moderator posted you insightful...

  You know, some of us actually might find that piece of data interesting. Just because you do not, is not sufficient reason to criticize the author(s) of the article. Your post is much more of a useless waste of bits than the information you are being so sarcastic about.

  Go back and play on 4chan.

SB

Re:6800 lbs? (0, Troll)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934752)

I agree the weight is relevant and interesting, but I agree with the parent it is not the most important piece of information about the satellite- as implied by it being the first thing the article tells you. Tell me the mission of the satellite, what kind of instruments it has, what insight it might lead to. After I know everything I really need to know, you can tell me the weight or the time it takes to fill a CD (a fact the article properly places last).

Re:6800 lbs? (-1, Offtopic)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935128)

  I _knew_ someone was going to moderate that as flamebait when I posted it.

  Was it for castigating someone for wasteful criticism, or was it for the "idiot" moderator comment?

  If the latter, well, I had mod points, so I could simply have moderated the poster down...

  Oh, I know. It was for the 4chan comment!

  (Any moderator who mods this post troll or flamebait deserves the description "idiot". The proper moderation would be offtopic, which would also have been the proper response not only to my other post, but to the parent to my other post. )

SB

Re:6800 lbs? (0, Flamebait)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935666)

  *grin*

Re:6800 lbs? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934852)

No, it really is important- a satellite weighing 6800 pounds at 22300 miles up is almost 300,000 pounds on Earth. Telling us they revived the Saturn V for three launches to get it up there would be more helpful, but I guess the author knew we could figure that out on our own.

On a related note, I tried to search "6800 lbs at 22300 miles" on Google- the first result was your post

Re:6800 lbs? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31940576)

I can't tell if you're joking or not, but SDO was launched on an Atlas V 401 vehicle. As for claiming it weighs 6800 lbs, I would wager that was the weight while on Earth. As other 'dotters have pointed out though, it is pretty retarded they aren't talking mass rather than weight.

Whoa. But... (4, Funny)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934440)

Specifically, NASA says the SDO will beam back 1.5 terabytes of data every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's almost 50 times more science data than any other mission in NASA history. It's like downloading 500,000 iTunes a day, NASA stated.

Apparently iTunes has morphed into a unit of scale. What is that in Library of Congresses?

Re:Whoa. But... (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934750)

Wait a minute... 1.5TB/d = 500,000 iTunes/d??
This would mean that iTunes has only 3MB? The size of a song...
OMG, those complete retard mean MP3s!!
I bet they refer to MP3 players as “iPods”...
This is even dumber than not knowing the difference between $0.02 and 0.02 cent!

Re:Whoa. But... (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935744)

I heard a valid reason from Dean Pesnell (SDO Project Scientist) -- they wanted to compare it to a compressed media, rather than using units of 'library of congress'. Either someone misheard the quote, or someone screwed up their line, as it was supposed to be something like 'downloading 500k songs from iTunes a day'.

For some reason, they weren't willing to go with the PornYear [theregister.co.uk] metric.

(and to the other commenter who said they should've said 'MP3' -- iTunes uses AAC, not MP3, and if you said file format only you'd have to mention at what quality, etc. Not to mention that the bad math analogy you went with is for telecommunications pricing, when you could've gone with the bad-metric-conversion [cnn.com] analogy.)

Re:Whoa. But... (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936148)

And god knows that people who read science news cannot possibly comprehend how much a terabyte is.

Torrent Please (3, Insightful)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934444)

I downloaded the 40mb(h264 mov) file which was all of 31 seconds. What would be super awesome though would be a torrent of a longer period of time...like an hour at least. Pretty please NASA? If the Norweigans can do it with a train ride surely we can do it for a great solar instrument like this.

Re:Torrent Please (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934584)

What would be super awesome though would be a torrent

OR, posting all the huge videos in a torrent so we could get it faster.

Re:Torrent Please (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934648)

  Sadly, at this time they can only post what they have ready for public consumption. Stay tuned, there are sure to be years worth of even better treats to come :-)

SB

Re:Torrent Please (2, Informative)

teridon (139550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935158)

Well, this is my first attempt at a torrent; hope this works

http://www.seedpeer.com/details/3024437/SDO.html [seedpeer.com]

Re:Torrent Please (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935280)

ssseeeeeeeeeeeeed

Re:Torrent Please (1)

teridon (139550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935334)

I am seeding! I imagine until we get a lot of peers direct download from the websites will be better

So, if you download from the web, please seed them :)

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/firstlight/ [nasa.gov]
http://aia.lmsal.com/public/firstlight.html [lmsal.com]

Re:Torrent Please (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935442)

At the risk of being modded off-topic, I'm downloading now and plan to seed for as long as I can :)

Re:Torrent Please (1)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935530)

Where did you find those 1gb and 700mb files? Can't find them to download them direct. I was getting 1MB/s earlier so imagine I would be seeding the largest files quite soon.

Re:Torrent Please (2, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935412)

Even if someone made it, you have to go through hoops to be allowed to use peer-to-peer anything at NASA.

I know there's a few multi-GB earth science data sets being distributed using torrents, but when I brought up peer-to-peer anything 2 years ago, before I was working on the data distribution system for SDO, I kept getting push back -- the files are too small to be efficient (~16MB each image); there's too many files to track (with all of the processed forms of the data, we'll be tracking over 400k files per day; more if they recalibrate) ... I finally gave up.

Maybe we'll get approval for education & public outreach ... we'll likely have to wait to see how hard people hit the servers, and might be able to use the bandwidth savings as justification. (but it'll still take months before we'd be allowed to do it)

Re:Torrent Please (1)

teridon (139550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31938408)

That's why I downloaded everything at home, and am seeding from there. Of course it's only a measly FIOS connection. Downloading from the NASA and LMSAL sites is probably going to be faster in any case.

Aren't we at a solar minimum? (4, Interesting)

gront (594175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934458)

Not sure of the extra-specialness of a solar observatory at the time of a record setting solar minimum.

"During 2008-2009 NASA scientists noted that the Sun is undergoing a "deep solar minimum," stating: "There were no sunspots observed on 266 of [2008's] 366 days (73%). Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of September 14, there were no sunspots on 206 of the year's 257 days (80%). It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: "We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the National Space Science and Technology Center NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center.

from wikipedia quoting legitimate sources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_minimum [wikipedia.org]

I'm all for space exploration, but the TFA should at least mention the solar minimum. And isn't http://solarstormwatch.com/ [solarstormwatch.com] more interestin' anyway?

Cut to the chase! Hit first base! (2, Interesting)

rigorrogue (894093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934484)

Girls(I hope)! Guys!

These videos are awesome. For once, don't bother with the article, just feast your eyes on extraordinary false-color footage of the source* of our life:

http://www.nasa.gov/mov/445831main_Alan-1-FirstSunImageandFootageH264.mov [nasa.gov]

http://www.nasa.gov/mov/445834main_Alan-4-Larger-activeRegion-H264.mov [nasa.gov]

Others are available here:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sdo/news/briefing-materials-20100421.html [nasa.gov]

These are some of the most beautiful works of art I've ever seen, and I studied Fine Art for over a decade. Ok, I've studied Physics for longer, but still!

What particularly struck me was the very "organic" looking cell structure (wikipedia suggests they're http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A9nard_cells [wikipedia.org] but I'm not a solar physicist, and I suspect it's just a _little_ bit more complicated than that, what with the vast EM energies at work and such). Call me a nerd, but my chest heaved as though I were looking into the eyes of a beautiful girl** ***.

* Yada yada

** Ok, so I've had a couple of large glasses of wine, and "life looks rosier through the bottom of a wine glass". But then, "in vino veritas". And anyway, it was white wine.

*** All girls are beautiful.

Re:Cut to the chase! Hit first base! (2, Informative)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934686)

  What particularly struck me was the very "organic" looking cell structure

  There's not much information Granule (solar physics) [wikipedia.org] but it will give you a start on learning more.

  (Solar astronomy is one of my hobbies, so I knew what to search for. Enjoy!)

SB

Re:Cut to the chase! Hit first base! (1)

rigorrogue (894093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934900)

Thanks dude!

Re:Cut to the chase! Hit first base! (4, Insightful)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935304)

  My pleasure!

  Something else to think about - you spoke of energy levels - just one of those granules is about the size of the Earth*, and the average temperature at the surface of the sun is around 6000 Kelvin. If the earth was magically transported there, everything on the surface would evaporate instantly, and the oceans would boil completely away in a matter of minutes. The rest of the planet might last a few days, at the most.

    We humans, with our fusion weapons, think we have "harnessed the fury of the stars" while in reality we've barely touched upon the energy levels that are common everywhere - and our sun is just a "middle class" star in terms of energy levels. There are phenomenon out there that make our sun look like a spark in a nuclear explosion...

  The universe is both beautiful, and terrible beyond imagination.

  Welcome to astronomy :) One of the greatest pleasures I find is in expanding minds...

  * roughly; the sun is about a million miles in diameter, and granule size varies. It's a close enough approximation, however.

SB

Re:Cut to the chase! Hit first base! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31939652)

We humans, with our fusion weapons, think we have "harnessed the fury of the stars" while in reality we've barely touched upon the energy levels that are common everywhere - and our sun is just a "middle class" star in terms of energy levels. There are phenomenon out there that make our sun look like a spark in a nuclear explosion...

    The universe is both beautiful, and terrible beyond imagination.

    Welcome to astronomy :) One of the greatest pleasures I find is in expanding minds...

And just think ... the scoffers of this generation think this huge mass - which has so much energy it is almost pointless to try and describe with words because the numbers are simply bigger than the human imagination - they believe it created itself!

Sooo many ignorant people today believe this Sun got there from THIN AIR!!! They believe that one particular moment the entire physical universe just willed itself into existence from NOTHING!!! It is amazing people today could be so ignorant in the face of very simple facts regarding the physical universe.

Now, get back to jokes about 4000 years old and apples and snakes etc.. Get back to reminding each other how super intelligent you are.

Found another photo (-1, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934506)

Say what? (-1, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934534)

NASA? What's 'NASA'... I think I remember seeing something about NASA in an old magazine named National Geographic or something my grandfather used to keep in the basement.... It's not something to do with guns is it? I'm pretty sure it has something to do with olden times, but that's all I know. And yes, I can appreciate that knowing old things about where we used to do stuff helps us understand about where we're all going, but wow... I guess this NASA thing used to be important and all so I'd like to learn more since it doesn't mean much today an all.

Network World? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934538)

Now why the hell does a story about new pictures from NASA link to Network World instead of, oh, say, NASA?

Re:Network World? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31934746)

Because the submitter had a grudge against Network World and wanted to make to cost them the price of a new server + disposal fees for the smoking puddle of e-waste that's now in the bottom of their rack.

Re:Network World? (2, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935460)

It's your basic blog spam -- slashdot user 'coondoggie [slashdot.org] ' submits an article written by 'Michael Cooney'.

Look at the rest of his submissions -- all just links back to Network World. Maybe he's trying to make up for the loss of Roland [slashdot.org] . (Although, Roland got better in his submissions)

Oh cool, first light, let me see....I'm BLIND!!!! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31934570)

My eyes! My eyes!

Re:Oh cool, first light, let me see....I'm BLIND!! (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935504)

They've booby trapped their sun somehow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWYt8af7C3U [youtube.com]

(start about 5:30 in)

6800 lbs.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31934892)

Actually I believe it's closer to 0 lbs. in its current position.

The detail is amazing (4, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935198)

If you look closely, you can see the flag that Louis Armstrong planted on the surface.

Re:The detail is amazing (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936642)

Don't forget Buzz Lightyear's boot prints.

Re:The detail is amazing (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31938028)

The area is too gravelly for me to make it out, though. :(

Re:The detail is amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31938910)

If you look closely, you can see the flag that Louis Armstrong planted on the surface.

Sheila Jackson Lee? Is that you?!?

Obama politics (2, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935338)

That's just typical for Obama's disastrous NASA politics:
Take remote pictures of it from an unmanned observatory.

-Under George W. we would have landed there!

Re:Obama politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31939942)

Sure! A manned mission to the sun would work! We could land at night!

Wait (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935638)

Wait Wait Wait man........ That picture is the cover for a 1977 Parliament-Funkadelic album, isn't it man?!!! Far out man! On two levels!

So with this camera (1)

aekafan (1690920) | more than 4 years ago | (#31935830)

Does this mean we can finally figure out how to land on the sun at night?

Slashdot advice (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31936946)

I know it goes without saying here, but "Do Not Look Directly at the Article for any amount of time!"

Remember kids (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31942178)

don't look directly at a picture of the Sun.

Google calculator for the lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31945190)

1.5 (terabytes per day) = 145.635556 megabits per second

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