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Studying The Sun Is Now Possible

First Posted: Mar 02, 2017 04:44 AM EST
The Sun
NOAA's GOES-16 satellite has sent the ultraviolet light images of the Sun.
(Photo : Waspie_Dwarf/YouTube screenshot)

Human outreach in space has made remarkable expansion over the last few decades. Space agencies like NASA, ESA and ISRO have recently achieved new feats in the field and it would not be a huge surprise if mankind manages to build a space colony on Mars, Moon or Jupiter for that matter in the near future. However, the one space object that has largely remained out of the reach of mankind is the Sun.

The extremely hot surface of the Sun prevents its study. This is why researchers have developed an innovative ultraviolet light-based imaging system, which can help in studying the surface of the Sun and quite possibly what goes in and around it.

Last January, the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) instrument was sent aboard NOAA's GOES-16 satellite to capture the images of the surface of the Sun. Since the Sun is soon going to enter its 11-year activity cycle, during which the solar intensity will reach its minimum, it provides a great opportunity for the SUVI instrument to understand the conditions prevalent on the Sun, and how it influences the space weather, Space Daily reported.

The first images of the instrument were recently released. The pictures provide new insights into the coronal holes present on the surface of the Sun. These coronal holes appear darker than the rest of the surface, because of the presence of high-speed streams that open to the interplanetary space. Due to this reason, the area around the coronal holes are cooler and less in density.

The SUVI instrument is designed to monitor the Sun from six EUV channels, which help it in making nearly accurate emission measurements as well as calculating the temperature of the coronal plasma. This will help in forecasting hazardous solar activities, which are already known to have deleterious impact on the functioning of power grids and telecom satellites, The Technews reported.

The successful operation of the SUVI instrument is expected to reduce the economic loss caused to the electrical power companies and telecommunication industry, due to the solar flare-induced tripping of circuit breakers in power grids and short-wave radio interference that damages the telecom satellites.

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