PHOTOS: Solar Explosions Revealed by Twin Spacecraft

PHOTOS: Solar Storms Revealed by Twin Spacecraft
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April 14, 2009--Ionized helium rises from the sun during a solar storm in an ultraviolet-light image taken on September 29, 2008, by the twin STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) spacecraft.

Ultraviolet-light images from STEREO have been used to create the first 3-D views of solar storms, NASA announced today. The 3-D pictures are made possible by the fact that the two spacecraft each image the sun from a different vantage point. Combined images from both craft can show the same event from different angles.

Solar storms are powerful, sudden eruptions of plasma and magnetic energy. Charged particles from the storms can damage satellites as well as disrupt GPS, cellular signals, and electrical grids.

The new 3-D imaging technology could help increase warning periods for adverse "space weather" from 12 hours to a full day, according to Michael Kaiser, a STEREO project scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
—Image courtesy NASA
 
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