Launched on Dec. 2, 2005, SOHO observes the sun's deep interior and also its interactions all the way out to Earth's orbit and beyond, where the magnetized solar wind of atomic particles sweeps through interplanetary space. Image credit: NASA/ESA
One of the biggest questions I have about space and in this case the Sun is how do scientist know what they are talking about? For example the age of our solar system and the Sun. Is it a guess or do they have evidence to support their statements. I mean we are talking about billions of years after all. Are the numbers they are stating as fact real or are they just working numbers? Clearly they could be millions of years off of their guess and still be in the ball park! We hear about adjustments astronomers and scientist have made in their respective areas of study occasionally from time to time in the news so they are still clearly discovering and learning.
The Suns rotation around the center of the "Milky Way". In physics,
the center of mass or barycenter is the weighted average location of all the
mass in a body or group of bodies.
Artists conception of the Suns core.
The universe is still expanding and growing.
HOW HOT IS THE SUN? At the photosphere the temperature is 6,000 degrees Celsius - 5,778 k (58,000K for the sake or round numbers) and the corona is measured at 5x10 to the sixth power. The sun generates its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. In its core, the Sun fuses 620 million metric tons of hydrogen each second. This generates the Suns energy and is referred to as “plasma”.
Views of the suns corona from the surface showing solar flares
(Left) This composite image combines EIT images from three wavelengths (171Å, 195Å and 284Å) into one that reveals solar features unique to each wavelength. Since the EIT images come to us from the spacecraft in black and white, they are color coded for easy identification. For this image, the nearly simultaneous images from May 1998 were each given a color code (red, yellow and blue) and merged into one (NASA).
(Right) Solar eclipse reveals the suns corona.
I wanted to post this "Epilogue" to our NASA shuttle program since this weeks article is about space. I photographed the shuttle in the early 1980's when the program was new. Now the shuttle program is retired, space exploration is still continuing via satellites and orbiters with mission data being sent to earth at their respective mission control centers. NASA has quite a few programs which are active at this time. If you are interested and want to know more go to NASA's home page at http://www.nasa.gov/ and discover a wealth of information, photos and video.
Endeavour Ferry Flight Under Way
at 8:17 a.m. PDT
The SCA and Endeavour will salute NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and the Edwards Air Force Base area after takeoff with a low flyby northbound to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. Any time after 9:30 a.m. PDT, watch for Endeavour from viewing locations that include the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Chabot Space and Science Center, the California State Capitol, Exploratorium, Lawrence Hall of Science and Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Next the aircraft will travel south, making a pass over NASA's Ames Research Center and Vandenberg Air Force Base before heading into the Los Angeles area. Any time after 11:30 a.m., watch for flyovers of Endeavour passing regional landmarks such as its future home at the California Science Center, Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, Disneyland, The Getty Center, Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles City Hall, the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Malibu Beach, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, the Queen Mary, Universal Studios and Venice Beach, among others.
Finally, the SCA and Endeavour will land about 12:45 p.m., at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for an arrival ceremony before Endeavour is taken off the 747. The orbiter will be transported to the California Science Center next month.
The exact timing and path of the ferry flight will depend on weather conditions and operational constraints. Some planned flyovers or stopovers could be delayed or canceled.
Social media users are encouraged to share their Endeavour sightings using the hashtags #spottheshuttle and #OV105, Endeavour's vehicle designation.
NASA's space shuttle fleet began setting records with its first launch on April 12, 1981 and continued to set high marks of achievement and endurance through 30 years of missions. Starting with Columbia and continuing with Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour, the spacecraft has carried people into orbit repeatedly, launched, recovered and repaired satellites, conducted cutting-edge research and built the largest structure in space, the International Space Station. The final space shuttle mission, STS-135, ended July 21, 2011 when Atlantis rolled to a stop at its home port, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
As humanity's first reusable spacecraft, the space shuttle pushed the bounds of discovery ever farther, requiring not only advanced technologies but the tremendous effort of a vast workforce. Thousands of civil servants and contractors throughout NASA's field centers and across the nation have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to mission success and the greater goal of space exploration.