First images from NASA’s Sun-staring IRIS satellite

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NASA/SDO/IRIS Last month we told you about the launch of NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite, which was built to study a poorly understood layer of the Sun’s atmosphere. After its successful launch , the satellite settled into its orbit and NASA took the lens cap off the telescope on July 17. Now, NASA has released the first imagery from the telescope, and it is gorgeous . The image above shows the unprecedented detail of IRIS’s view (on the right) compared to the view from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, a satellite that has been studying the Sun since 2010. (The video below shows these images in motion.) The feathery features you see are the result of differences in density and temperature. It’s the movement of energy through this layer of the solar atmosphere that NASA scientists are trying to understand. It should help them figure out how the Sun’s upper atmosphere gets so hot, as well as how solar flares form. Read on Ars Technica | Comments        

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First images from NASA’s Sun-staring IRIS satellite

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