Picture of the Day: NASA’s SDO Captures its 100 Millionth Image of the Sun
An instrument on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured its 100 millionth image of the sun. The instrument is the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, or AIA, which uses four telescopes working parallel to gather eight images of the sun—cycling through 10 different wavelengths—every 12 seconds. This is a processed image of SDO multiwavelength blend from Jan. 19, 2015, the date of the spacecraft’s 100th millionth image release.
Between the AIA and two other instruments on board, the Helioseismic Magnetic Imager and the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment, SDO sends down a whopping 1.5 terabytes of data a day. In the almost five years since its launch on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO has provided images of the sun to help scientists better understand how the roiling corona gets to temperatures some 1000 times hotter than the sun’s surface, what causes giant eruptions such as solar flares, and why the sun’s magnetic fields are constantly on the move.
You can read more about the milestone here.