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239 comments

Hmm (2, Insightful)

veeoh (444683) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667370)

Still not as good as space based, but a damn sight cheaper! :)

\/eeoh

Re:Hmm (5, Informative)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667390)

While this new system works great for the visible spectrum of the Sun's output, you still want a space-based observatory to monitor the Sun's output in the other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. That's why satellites like SOHO are still important.

Re:Hmm (5, Interesting)

teridon (139550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667441)

On the contrary [nasa.gov]:

The filaments' newly revealed dark cores are seen to be thousands of kilometers long but only about 100 kilometers wide. Resolving features 100 kilometers wide or less is a milestone in solar astronomy and has been achieved here using sophisticated adaptive optics, digital image stacking, and processing techniques to counter the blurring effect of Earth's atmosphere. At optical wavelengths, these images are sharper than even current space-based solar observatories can produce.

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

two_ply (610736) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667501)

"these images are sharper than even current space-based solar observatories can produce. "

By using new technology earth based observatories have made an advance over *current* space based observatories. Doesn't it follow that by using the same advances space based observatories will exceed earth based ones once they can be implemented? Also, they're be no need for correcting for the atmosphere ...

Re:Hmm (2)

teridon (139550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667744)

No, it doesn't follow because the advances don't apply to spaced-based observatories. The images are sharper because of 1) adaptive optics 2) the observatory has a larger mirror(s). The only way a space-based observatory is going to get better images is a larger mirror. And, as you pointed out, there's no need for adaptive optics in space.

to quote brian regan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667372)

"the big yellow one the sun!"

Remember that editors are supposed to EDIT. (-1, Offtopic)

peterb (13831) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667378)

What? No GIFs of the pictures you drew as a kid? I feel violated and ripped off.

Slashdot: Your stream-of-consciousness news source.

Peterb
PS: Did I say "violated and ripped off?" I meant "relieved."

GIFs??? (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667379)

What in the world are they thinking putting them up as 3MB GIFs? I understand the need for super accuracy for some purposes, hence the need for lossless TIFFs, but there should be JPEGs for people who don't need perfect reproductions: The smooth gradients lend themselves to JPEG compression.

Re:GIFs??? (5, Informative)

teridon (139550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667457)

Here's [nasa.gov] a JPEG.

Look at art! (3, Funny)

WhiteBandit (185659) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667534)

Well now the fun with these super detailed pictures is to see if we can pick out images!

If you scroll down to the "bottom" of that image, line yourself up with the very top of that monstrous sunspot and then cut directly left, you can see a nearly perfect image of a face.

*sigh*
Now I guess we sit back and wait for the conspiracy theories to fly.

Re:Look at art! (4, Funny)

The Original Yama (454111) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667761)

...cue for some fanatic to proclaim, "It's the face of {Jesus|Mary|Muhammad|Buddha|etc.}!!!", followed by some cheesy explanation like "God is light, and He creates life. Just like the Sun!!!"

It's a miracle!!!

Re:Look at art! (5, Funny)

JimPooley (150814) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667819)

Of course there's a face in the sun. Have you never seen 'Teletubbies'?

Seriously though, this is just another example of how the human brain is hot-wired to see faces in everything - even a colon, a dash and a bracket.

GIFs quite common in sat imaging (5, Interesting)

CharlieO (572028) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667562)

From my days doing Earth Observation Science (EOS) I recall that a lot of satellite imaging, whether astronomical or remote sensing, seemed to follow a de-facto standard of a 512 x 512 x 8bit image tile per channel on the instrument.

GIFs were often used because it is a very stable way of doing lossless compression at 8bit, stable as in almost any image program can read them.

This is not the case with TIFFs as there are a number of variants and options in the file format.

TIFFs are however a better medium for storage of composite images, either spatially or spectorally (montages or multichannel pseudo colour in english).

Due to its general lack of use as a data storage format most of the tools I used/wrote to proccess image data files generally did not have JPEG support or other common 'display' options as the file is regarded as data, not an image - its a subtle difference but explains the mindset.

When I published stuff on the web I'd run our raw large images through Photoshop to get pleasing images but compact file sizes.

It may not have occured for them to do this, and anyway they may regard this as publishing data for other interested parties to download and process themselves.

Re:GIFs??? (2)

bogado (25959) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667708)

Also gif are not as lossless as people think, people tend to forget that color resolution is very important and gif only have 256 of them.

Re:GIFs??? (2)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667759)

Well, given the beating their site is getting right now, I'll bet they wish they had used a better format. :)

Reuters photo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667383)

If you want another image [reuters.com] when the site gets slashdotted.

Re:Reuters photo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667393)

That is one of the nastiest....what a freak. I'd rather see goatse.cx than that.

nice pictures (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667384)

that's probably how their servers will look like as the hits rack up and they experience the full effect of slashdotting. fear the slashdot.

The sun?! Where?! (5, Funny)

Henriok (6762) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667385)

I live in Sweden and I haven't seen the sun for ages. If my calendar is correct.. i might see the sun again in 3-4 months time. I really don't know if I can stand it that long.

You're not alone (-1, Funny)

Klerck on (615043) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667412)

I live in Alaska, I saw the sun yesterday. I won't see it again for 364 days.

Re:You're not alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667443)

ROFLMAO - mod this little beauty up...

Re:The sun?! Where?! (5, Funny)

Myco (473173) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667481)

Not only do you live in Sweden, but you post on Slashdot. No wonder you never see the sun.

Of course, I also live in Sweden and post on Slashdot, so I know that of which I speak.

Also on MSNBC (5, Informative)

Alcazar (207930) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667388)

MSNBC posted this article last night http://www.msnbc.com/news/834647.asp [msnbc.com] It might be more reachable...

Re:Also on MSNBC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667406)

Hey, that looks frighteningly similar to this [goatse.cx] picture, although the latter has a bit more of a red tinge to it.

Re:Also on MSNBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667427)

That'll pretty much be the sun in a few million years, after it prolapses into a black hole.

Re:Also on MSNBC -- ignore it and it will go away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667696)

No need to feed Uncle Bill's entry into a media monopoly. He already owns 15% of Newsweek and gets to write what he wants for the NYT. Do you really want one person or conglomerate to control all your information?

Reuters, AP, UPI, BBC and many others professional news sources are much faster. Science, Nature, Scientific American, and New Scientist cover lots of science issues.

re Paintings as a kid (5, Funny)

Sad Loser (625938) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667389)

you obviously didn't live in the UK then. My paintings always had that 'grey sky' look.

Already slashdotted (-1, Offtopic)

peterb (13831) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667391)


Hey guys? There's this miraculous technology that has existed for a few years called "caching."

Google has used it, and no one has sued them over it. Maybe you could use it too? And then things wouldn't suck quite so bad EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Please? Pretty please? It's really easy, I swear.

Are you insane? (-1)

Bitter Old Man (572131) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667564)

"That would make sense. Which means no way in hell we'll ever do it!" -- Commander Taco

Anyone who takes this site seriously I have massive pity for.

Incredible images of the moon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667394)

Can be found here [shorl.com]

Buried in the site (5, Informative)

dubbayu_d_40 (622643) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667397)

Took me awhile to find out how it works. In a nutshell: "The adaptive mirror actually changes shape 1000 times a second in order to adjust for the rapidly changing blurring of the image. Finally, we are using techniques to further sharpen the images after they have been captured by electronic cameras. In the best images the resolution is close to 0.1 arcseconds. This is a factor of 1200 better than 20/20 vision."

Re:Buried in the site (2)

coryboehne (244614) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667515)

A factor of 1200 better than 20/20 vision? Hmmm, wonder if there would be someway to adapt this for other (read military, then trickle to the public) purposes.... I mean, really, imagine a soldier wearing a small set of optics that are able to allow him to clearly see a tank at 100 miles, or even better, allow a tank to see a tank at 100 miles, planes could benefit too. Of course I personally would get a kick out of a nice pair of super-glasses with this tech enabled so that I could finally read those pesky road signs at a mile or two away :)

Re:Buried in the site (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667627)

Well, I think the size of the mirror used might make it impractical for a soldier to carry one of these things around in a pair of goggles. ;) Also, it's a lot harder to apply adaptive optical techniques to lenses than to mirrors -- I work for a microscopy company [intelligent-imaging.com] (not as an optical engineer, granted, but that's what a lot of my coworkers do, and I hear them bitching) and we've had a hell of a time applying adaptive optical techniques to anything -- we have one product based on this idea that's only started shipping this year. I suspect the problems with lens-based telescopes and binoculars would be even worse, since the lenses in question are so much bigger.

That being said, I would be very surprised if there weren't military spy satellites, and perhaps reconnaisance planes, already using this.

Re:Buried in the site (1)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667631)

at 100 miles you're going to have major issues with curvature of the earth and terrain. enhanced imaging is not very practical for battlefield use, unless it comes in the form of top down tactical information.

ewww... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667400)

this looks like this! [goatse.cx]

d'oh

Thanks michael (-1, Troll)

Dr. Eric Peters (586095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667411)

Thank you michael! It's always good to know we can count on you to do something completely ridiculous like allowing a 230KB JPEG to be linked from the front page. I'm sure the people that run the site will be more than happy to find they've suddenly used many magnitudes more bandwidth than they should have this month.

I'm glad to see the editors finally taking a stand against the stupidity that used to go on on this site.

Unwarranted (3, Interesting)

CharlieO (572028) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667516)

And this is Michael's fault how?

Seriously they chose to put large size images linked from a press release - I mean they're not even deep links, nor is this one near the bottom of the page. Its probably one of the most likely links everyone will click on if they read the story. Its linked from a press release they expect this too be read, its not like we slashdotted a tiny departmental server.

Does moving it from a 2 click (slashdot story - press release image - gif) to 1 click[1] (slashdot story) really justify a personal broadside against the editorial integerity of one the slashdot team?

Comment on the fact that maybe they should be warned so they remove the high res links until the slashdotting is over, maybe comment on the poor web design approach of the academic team involved, any number of these are valid responses to this story.

Your response adds nothing to the story, nor is what I would expect from someone (judging by you name and email) who is experienced at proffesionally critiquing and assess others work in thier career. Or do peer reviews in Academia these days descend to personal attacks, unwarranted sarcasm and flamewars too?

It seems a strange contrast to your statement about stupidity on the site, did you mean the content of the site or the quality and relevance of the posts on it?

[1]1-Click is of course patented by Amazon, so we must be careful...

Bloody slashdotting (2, Informative)

prichardson (603676) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667413)

Maybe slashdot could offer mirroring of websites that need it before they link them. CNN and NYTimes might be able to handle the extra traffic but a geocities page will not.

Slashdotted. (2)

mazur (99215) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667416)

<expletives deleted for the feeble hearted>

So will some kind hearts who can still access it copy the pages FTTB? I would myself, but I can't get in...

But it's nice the general scientific community still shares its assets, instead of copyrighting it and hiding it behind massive fees, like Craig Venter did.

<Offtopic>
Now if only I could find a geological map of the Netherlands without the usual atlas texts all over them, so i can make a nice RT2 simulation of the Dutch railways growth since trains got invented. ;-)
</Offtopic>

Stefan

Appology (5, Funny)

InsaneCreator (209742) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667426)

Sunset will be canceled tonight, due to the slashdotting of the sun.

Re:Appology (1)

jsse (254124) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667491)

The Sunset can be proceeded as schedule. For some reason the site which host the sun survived slashdotting, regardless of the transferring of huge images. :)

Summer Fun (5, Funny)

nukey56 (455639) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667428)

If you look real close on that image, a little to the left of the giant black spot, you can just about see the Old Navy crew in their cargo shorts. Glad to know that advertisement worked.

another link (5, Informative)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667434)

In case the above site gets roasted, space.com also has pics and article.
This article [space.com] has the links.You can also zoom in and use the viewer.

Just what we need (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667435)

We've been to the moon, and Mars will be next, followed by Venus, but what will we do when we've run out of planets? Clearly the option is the Sun.

Photos like these will show us where the potential landing sites are. Very useful since the lander will have to find somewhere that's not only flat but free of excessive RF noise so that we can communicate with Earth.

So, obviously, someone will ask - How can we possible build something to get to the sun? Well, this is quite simple, Firstly we use regrigeration devices. These will require some considerable energy, as well as a decent fusion power source to keep them going. Secondly, we avoif reflective surfaces. The other thing to remember is that we only need to travel during the night. During the day is when the sun is hottest, so travel at night should help cool us considerably. This will require better propulsion mechanisms that can do the bulk of the travelling in the 12 hours of night.

Re:Just what we need (2)

emir (111909) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667579)

i hope this is a joke heh. how can you travel to sun "at night"? night exists because of earth rotation. when you are traveling to sun its "day" all the time..... then sun is gas giant there is no surface, density increases all the time but there is no surface as on earth....

Mirror (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667440)

The images are slashdotted, so I've provided a mirror. Go outside (that's through the door over there, pale face) and look up.

Where is the 1600x1200 version? (1)

GnomeKing (564248) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667447)

I mean, its not as if the sun isnt big enough to take a photo with that resolution..

I just happen to think that some of those images would make really nice wallpaper :P

Re:Where is the 1600x1200 version? (3, Informative)

GnomeKing (564248) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667466)

apparently its here [solarphysics.kva.se]...

whoops

Re:Where is the 1600x1200 version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667717)

Excellent, but I can't stand that staring face in the upper left corner. ;-)

Finally (2, Funny)

Crasoum (618885) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667453)

I don't need to burn my pupils to see a good view of the sun from the earth. But that spf 300 lotion burnt more then the sun ever did...

Re:Finally (2)

affenmann (195152) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667649)

> burn my pupils to see a good view of the sun from the earth
Bah, burn your pupils. What sort of teacher are you?

Boneheads (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667465)

What bonehead looks in to the sun with a telescope... seriously? well, one born every minute.

Great for the people still around from the 60s (1)

iamwoodyjones (562550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667476)

...who spent many a days staring directly into the sun on one of their trips. Now they can say, "Wow man, this really is a better picture. oooooo."

Site is slow -- here's the content (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667482)

Here are the images from the site -- a picture of the Sun:

____
/ \
| |
| |
\____/

Hope that helps to beat the Slashdotting.

Re:Site is slow -- here's the content (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667659)

Dang, couldn't get it perfectly right (used the "code" selection to get past the lameness filter). Maybe that bit at the top could represent a solar flare... :)

Anyone make a proper circle?

Re:Site is slow -- here's the content (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667683)

what about the moon??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667506)

We can have this high resolution to see the "hairs" of the sun, yet we can't see the moon clear enough to see if People actually landed on the Moon? WOW guess it is a hoax that Armstrong never did touch down on the moon.

It looks like... (1)

Ececheira (86172) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667510)

...an impressionist painting!

Has anyone else noticed that the texture of the sun looks like the brush strokes on a Van Gogh?

Surfaces of extrasolar planets (2)

heroine (1220) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667525)

If they're really seeing the actual surface features of the sun to this detail without synthesizing data then maybe the same technique can be applied to extrasolar planets to image details as small as life forms.

Adaptive Optics (5, Interesting)

Hawaiian Lion (411949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667527)

The technology used by this telescope to counter the effects of the atmosphere in measurements is called adaptive optics. This is the first application I know of for adaptive optics on a solar telescope.

This technology has been around for awhile, and was first seriously developed by the military at the Starfire Optical Range [af.mil].

Recently it has been used in such telescope projects as the WM Keck Observatory [hawaii.edu] and Gemini Project [gemini.edu]. I know AO is also used for measurement of eye aberrations, with projects being conducted at several Universities. For more information about Adaptive Optics, I suggest the Center for Adaptive Optics [ucolick.org]

My personal experience with AO was as an intern for Gemini this past summer. I helped write parallel code for a program that simulates current and future adaptive optics systems planned for the next generation of extremely large telescopes.

Re:Adaptive Optics (4, Insightful)

CharlieO (572028) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667675)

And the most fun to be had with an Adaptive Optics system is if it uses a laser generated guide star.

Then you can chuck a frisbee like object through the beam and watch it get zapped :)

Did I say this was seriously frowned on, I think I should :)

Adaptive Optics in a Nutshell:

1) You use a single point source as a reference.
2) You know the aberation caused by the atmosphere will spread the point image when you receive it.
3) You know that as your source is a point source, then the resultant spread in your image is entirely due to aberation, so use the image to calculate the Point Spread Function
4) Using the PSF apply a correction to the light path by altering something in the imaging system, usually a mirror.
5) Repeat several hundred times a second

Of course the great side effect is this also removes distortion caused by the imaging system itself, allowing you to use bigger mirrors with a lower tolerance than you otherwise might be able to do.

Originally point sources were strong and predictable stars in the field of view that you wanted - hence the term 'guide stars'

With a laser generated guide star you project a spot onto the upper surface of the atmosphere with a powerful laser of an appropriate frequency - close to your obsering frequency, but far enough out that you don't effect the observation. The subtlety here is to account for the fact that the point source will be spread twice, once on the way up and once on the way down.

Anyone working in AO I apologise to for the somewhat oversimplification - follow the links in the parent to better details if your interest is fired.

Cooling question (4, Interesting)

forged (206127) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667539)

How does the cameras sensors not melt and achieve good accuracy by staring into the sun ? Surely they must be cooled off, but how ? The overclocking crowd here must have some insights !

Btw, I tried to stare at the sun once when I was a kid, that was stupid. I was told too late that one can go blind for doing that -- that must explain the glasses today...

Re:Cooling question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667767)

Not sure how they cool the sensors; very large image scale at the detector focus may help to reduce the energy dump. The image tend to be through very narrow-band filters which exclude most of the light.

Solar telescopes often have beam-paths enclosed and evacuated. If you leave air in the beam it heats up, convects and ruins the image. C.f. dome seeing in night-time telescopes.

Wish it was live. (2)

torpor (458) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667540)

It'd make the dopest desktop wallpaper to have these closeup images live, near-realtime, on my OSX desktop.

Then I could actually finally have a decent use for transparent Term windows, I guess... :)

oooh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667548)

Huge stretches of flame and explosions... and a dark hole as well... I see that all the time, strangely enough, it's always about 4 hours after i've eaten Taco Bell food!

Hubble? (2)

digidave (259925) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667557)

Question: Why can't they point Hubble at the Sun and get even better photos? Is Hubble not equipped for such a task?

Re:Hubble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667666)

No. It's not. If you pointed hubble at the sun, hubble would fry its optics. The sun is wayyyyyyyy
to close to the sun, and hubble is specifically made to grab all the light it can. What happens to you after you look at the sun, from being in total darkness for a while? See.. =)

Re:Hubble? (5, Informative)

teridon (139550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667790)

Because Hubble is not designed to point at the sun. Thermally, Hubble was designed so that one side of the telescope is always pointed towards the sun. For thermally stability it must always remain that way. Are you going to personally replace Hubble's primary mirror when it cracks due to solar heating?

Funny Swedes! (1, Funny)

sdprenzl (149571) | more than 11 years ago | (#4667572)

The first picture is of the whole sun. The line reads, shot through the "finder telescope." I know of some Norwegians who would remark that only the Swedes would need a finder telescope to find the sun. (LOL)

Don't stare directly at it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667674)

Aaahhhh... it burns!

Website Slashdotted (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667676)

We've Slashdotted the biggest ball of hot gas around - The Sun!!! :)

Lonely Swedish (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4667748)

My bum is on the sun!
Bum is on the sun!
Look at me!
My bum is on the sun!
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