• Subscribe

NASA's IRIS set to launch

This April, NASA's IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) spacecraft will set out on a two-year mission to answer how the sun's corona gets so hot.

Image courtesy NASA

Using high-resolution images, spectral data, and supercomputing power, IRIS will hone in on the forces at work near the surface of the sun - with the goal of explaining how matter, light, and energy move from the sun's 6,000 K (10,240 F / 5,727 C) surface to its million K (1.8 million F / 999,700 C) outer atmosphere, the corona.

The lower levels of the sun's atmosphere have previously proved difficulty to study, but IRIS's ultraviolet telescope and imaging spectrograph will be able to capture images within seconds. Combined with the 3-D modeling capabilities of supercomputers such as NASA's Pleiades (and recent advances in analyzing big data), these images will provide key information about regional activity.

Movement in the region makes the sun's atmosphere much hotter than its surface, powering solar flares and coronal mass ejections. These, in turn, affect the Earth's upper atmosphere, disrupting radio transmissions and causing damage to satellites and power grids - potentially resulting in extensive and lengthy outages.

Read more in Smithsonian Science:

http://smithsonianscience.org/2013/01/nasas-iris-spacecraft-scheduled-to...

- Sarah Engel

Join the conversation

Do you have story ideas or something to contribute? Let us know!

Copyright © 2019 Science Node ™  |  Privacy Notice  |  Sitemap

Disclaimer: While Science Node ™ does its best to provide complete and up-to-date information, it does not warrant that the information is error-free and disclaims all liability with respect to results from the use of the information.

Republish

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit ScienceNode.org — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on ScienceNode.org” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.