Recent advances in solar observation satellites such as SOHO – Solar and Heliospheric Observatory – have made available hours of ultra cool movies of the sun in all of its glory. The films are spectacular in there own right but what if there was more, something unexpected. What if there where planet sized craft parked so close to the sun they really can kiss the sky. Some are even within the suns fiery corona.
On May 29 2010 the SOHO satellite sent foot to earth of strange and unusual objects sitting stationary within the suns corona. Other clips show tiny dots sitting just close enough to be touched by solar flares. Are these clips simply a case of some handy Photoshop skills. Some do look a little fake and some are actually pretty convincing. There is definitely something strange there, the what are they question will be debated for a while yet.
Ron Stewart and Ron Nussbeck apparently developed a technology to enhance SOHO images and pinpoint the presence off these massive alien objects around the sun. The two Ronnies seems to be the source of most of the videos – im not joking -, With their technology they are able to scan thousands of hours of SOHO video stream and pinpoint any anomalous objects. So the story goes anyway.
The January 2010 video clip shows several large UFOs orbiting the sun, again not great detail but they shouldn’t be there. Some of the more interesting shots show depth to the objects giving them a three dimensional look, very realistic and being right in the sun corona isn’t normal so they are weird.
The interesting thing about new technology is that you always seem to find new ways to look at the same old thing with it. The data we see in the videos you might call video but that’s not the half of it. These satellites collect data on all spectrum’s. Part of this story is actually about people with a new toy. This kind of imaging technology pointed at the sun is new, hell it seems so unatural to look at camera directly at the sun, let alone look at the sun.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory – SDO -, launched in February 2010 with stated goals to study the Sun-Earth system. Will we see similar objects on NASA pictures from SDO. it has already started producing photo’s, some of the deep red sun spot / flare photos were from the SDO satellite.
What about if it got even stranger, if there was once final twist. Some of the early videos creators are now accusing NASA of touching up the pictures and removing UFO’s that were previously there. NASA response was it was never there, cunning.Has NASA started to clean up the videos while they were on YouTube. With NASA’s history of touching up pictures it isn’t that much of a stretch.
We just spent close to 5billion sending up the SOHO and SDO satellites and they turn out to be the greatest UFO spotting devices ever, and even stranger is the fact the most interesting thing to come from both satellites has been solar flares and this.
Where do I buy my ticket to go and get on board the Sun-cruiser, Dream-liner and Sun-shiner.
Buddhas Brother out…
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is a spacecraft built by a European industrial consortium led by Matra Marconi Space (now Astrium) that was launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS launch vehicle on December 2, 1995 to study the Sun, and has discovered 2000 comets. It began normal operations in May 1996. It is a joint project of international cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. Originally planned as a two-year mission, SOHO currently continues to operate after over ten years in space. In October 2009, a mission extension lasting until December 2012 was approved.
In addition to its scientific mission, it is currently the main source of near-real time solar data for space weather prediction. Along with the GGS Wind and Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), SOHO is one of three spacecraft currently in the vicinity of the Earth-Sun L1 point, a point of gravitational balance located approximately 0.99 astronomical unit (AU)s from the Sun and 0.01 AU from the Earth. In addition to its scientific contributions, SOHO is distinguished by being the first three-axis-stabilized spacecraft to use its reaction wheels as a kind of virtual gyroscope; the technique was adopted after an on-board emergency in 1998 that nearly resulted in the loss of the spacecraft.
The 610 kg SOHO spacecraft is in a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth L1 point, the point between the Earth and the Sun where the balance of the (larger) Sun’s gravity and the (smaller) Earth’s gravity is equal to the centripetal force needed for an object to have the same orbital period in its orbit around the Sun as the Earth, with the result that the object will stay in that relative position.
Although sometimes described as being at L1, the SOHO spacecraft is not exactly at L1 as this would make communication difficult due to radio interference generated by the Sun, and because this would not be a stable orbit. Rather it lies in the (constantly moving) plane which passes through L1and is perpendicular to the line connecting the sun and the Earth. It stays in this plane, tracing out an elliptical lissajous orbit centered about L1. It orbitsL1 once every six months, while L1 itself orbits the sun every 12 months as it is coupled with the motion of the Earth. This keeps SOHO at a good position for communication with Earth at all times.
Communication with Earth
In normal operation the spacecraft transmits a continuous 200 kbit/s data stream of photographs and other measurements via the NASA Deep Space Network of ground stations. SOHO’s data about solar activity are used to predict solar flares, so electrical grids and satellites can be protected from their damaging effects (mainly, solar flares may produce geomagnetic storms, which in turn produce geomagnetically induced current creating black-outs, etc.).
In 2003 ESA reported the failure of the antenna Y-axis stepper motor, necessary for pointing the high gain antenna and allowing the downlink of high rate data. At the time, it was thought that the antenna anomaly might cause two to three week data-blackouts every three months. However, ESA and NASA engineers managed to use SOHO‘s low gain antennas together with the larger 34 and 70 meter DSN ground stations and judicious use of SOHO‘sSolid State Recorder (SSR) to prevent total data loss, with only a slightly reduced data flow every three months.
Near Loss of SOHO
The SOHO Mission Interruption sequence of events began on June 24, 1998, while the SOHO Team was conducting a series of spacecraftgyroscope calibrations and maneuvers. Operations proceeded until 23:16 UTC when SOHO lost lock on the Sun, and entered an emergency attitude control mode called Emergency Sun Reacquisition (ESR). The SOHO Team attempted to recover the observatory, but SOHO entered the emergency mode again on June 25 02:35 UTC. Recovery efforts continued, but SOHO entered the emergency mode for the last time at 04:38 UTC. All contact with SOHO was lost, and the mission interruption had begun. SOHO was spinning, losing electrical power, and no longer pointing at the Sun.
Expert ESA personnel were immediately dispatched from Europe to the United States to direct operations. Days passed without contact from SOHO. On July 23, the Arecibo Observatory and DSN antennas were used to locate SOHO with radar, and to determine its location and attitude. SOHO was close to its predicted position, oriented with its side versus the usual front Optical Surface Reflector panel pointing toward the Sun, and was rotating at one RPM. Once SOHO was located, plans for contacting SOHO were formed. On August 3 a carrier was detected from SOHO, the first signal since June 25. After days of charging the battery, a successful attempt was made to modulate the carrier and downlink telemetry on August 8. After instrument temperatures were downlinked on August 9, data analysis was performed, and planning for the SOHO recovery began in earnest.
The SOHO Recovery Team began by allocating the limited electrical power. After this, SOHO’s anomalous orientation in space was determined. Thawing the frozen hydrazine fuel tank using SOHO’s thermal control heaters began on August 12. Thawing pipes and the thrusters was next, and SOHO was re-oriented towards the Sun on September 16. After nearly a week of spacecraft bus recovery activities and an orbital correction maneuver, the SOHO spacecraft (bus) returned to normal mode on September 25 at 19:52 UTC. Recovery of the instruments began on October 5 with SUMER, and ended on October 24, 1998 with CELIAS.
Only one gyro remained operational after this recovery, and on December 21 that gyro failed. Attitude control was accomplished with manual thruster firings that consumed 7 kg of fuel weekly, whileESA developed a new gyroless operations mode that was successfully implemented on February 1, 1999.
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The three main scientific objectives of SOHO are:
- Investigation of the outer layer of the Sun, which consists of the chromosphere, transition region, and the corona. CDS, EIT, LASCO, SUMER, SWAN, and UVCS are used for this solar atmosphere remote sensing.
- Making observations of solar wind and associated phenomena in the vicinity of L1. CELIAS and CEPAC are used for “in situ” solar wind observations.
- Probing the interior structure of the Sun. GOLF, MDI, and VIRGO are used for helioseismology.
The SOHO Payload Module (PLM) consists of twelve instruments, each capable of independent or coordinated observation of the Sun or parts of the Sun, and some spacecraft components. The instruments are:
- Coronal Diagnostic Spectrometer (CDS) which measures density, temperature and flows in the corona.
- Charge ELement and Isotope Analysis System (CELIAS) which studies the ion composition of the solar wind.
- Comprehensive SupraThermal and Energetic Particle analyser collaboration (COSTEP) which studies the ion and electron composition of the solar wind. COSTEP and ENRE are sometimes referred to together as the COSTEP-ERNE Particle Analyzer Collaboration (CEPAC).
- Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) which studies the low coronal structure and activity.
- Energetic and Relativistic Nuclei and Electron experiment (ERNE) which studies the ion and electron composition of the solar wind. (See note above in COSTEP entry.)
- Global Oscillations at Low Frequencies (GOLF) which measures velocity variations of the whole solar disk to explore the core of the sun.
- Large Angle and Spectrometric COronagraph experiment (LASCO) which studies the structure and evolution of the corona by creating an artificial solar eclipse.
- Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) which measures velocity and magnetic fields in the photosphere to learn about the convection zone which forms the outer layer of the interior of the sun and about the magnetic fields which control the structure of the corona. The MDI is the biggest producer of data by far on SOHO. In fact, two of SOHO’s virtual channels are named after MDI, VC2 (MDI-M) carries MDI magnetogram data, and VC3 (MDI-H) carries MDI Helioseismology data.
- Solar Ultraviolet Measurement of Emitted Radiation (SUMER) which measures plasma flows, temperature and density in the corona.
- Solar Wind ANisotropies (SWAN) which uses telescopes sensitive to a characteristic wavelength of hydrogen to measure the solar wind mass flux, map the density of the heliosphere, and observe the large-scale structure of the solar wind streams.
- UltraViolet Coronagraph Spectrometer (UVCS) which measures density and temperature in the corona.
- Variability of solar IRradiance and Gravity Oscillations (VIRGO) which measures oscillations and solar constant both of the whole solar disk and at low resolution, again exploring the core of the sun.
Observations from some of the instruments can be formatted as images, most of which are also readily available on the internet for either public or research use (see the official website). Others such as spectra and measurements of particles in the solar wind do not lend themselves so readily to this. These images range in wavelength or frequency from optical (Hα) to extreme ultraviolet (UV). Images taken partly or exclusively with non-visible wavelengths are shown on the SOHO page and elsewhere in false color. Unlike many space-based and ground telescopes, there is no time formally allocated by the SOHO program for observing proposals on individual instruments: interested parties can contact the instrument teams directly via e-mail and the SOHO web site to request time via that instrument team’s internal processes (some of which are quite informal, provided that the ongoing reference observations are not disturbed). A formal process (the “JOP” program) does exist for using multiple SOHO instruments collaboratively on a single observation. JOP proposals are reviewed at the quarterly Science Working Team (“SWT”) meetings, and JOP time is allocated at monthly meetings of the Science Planning Working Group.
As a consequence of its observing the Sun, SOHO (specifically the LASCO instrument) has inadvertently allowed the discovery of comets by blocking out the Sun’s glare. Approximately one-half of all known comets have been spotted by SOHO, discovered over the last 15 years by over 70 people representing 18 different countries searching through the publicly available SOHO images online. Michał Kusiak of the Polish Jagiellonian University (Uniwersytet Jagielloński) discovered SOHO’s 1999th and 2000th comets on 26 December 2010.
- Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), launched 1997, still operational.
- Solar Dynamics Observatory, launched 2010, still operational.
- SOHO, solar observatory launched in 1995, still operational.
- Solar Maximum Mission
- STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory)
- Ulysses probe, 1990 mission, decommissioned June 30, 2009.
- Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE), launched 1998, decommissioned 2010.
- Triana, satellite intended for L1
- Ulysses probe, 1990 mission, decommissioned June 30, 2009.
- WIND (spacecraft), launched 1994, still operational.
Solar Dynamics Observatory
The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is a NASA mission which will observe the Sun for over five years. Launched on February 11, 2010, the observatory is part of the Living With a Star (LWS) program. The goal of the LWS program is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to effectively address those aspects of the connected Sun–Earth system that directly affect life and society. SDO’s goal is to understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously. SDO will investigate how the Sun’s magnetic field is generated and structured, how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.
The SDO spacecraft was assembled and tested at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and launched on February 11, 2010, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The primary mission is scheduled to last five years and three months, with expendables expected to last for ten years. Some consider SDO to be a follow-on mission to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
SDO is a 3-axis stabilized spacecraft, with two solar arrays, and two high-gain antennas. The spacecraft includes three instruments: the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) built in partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder‘s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics(LASP), the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) built in partnership with Stanford University, and the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) built in partnership with the Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory. Data which is collected by the craft will be made available as soon as possible, after it is received.
Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager
The Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI), led from Stanford University in Stanford, California, studies solar variability and characterizes the Sun’s interior and the various components of magnetic activity. HMI produces data to determine the interior sources and mechanisms of solar variability and how the physical processes inside the Sun are related to surface magnetic field and activity. It also produces data to enable estimates of the coronal magnetic field for studies of variability in the extended solar atmosphere. HMI observations will enable establishing the relationships between the internal dynamics and magnetic activity in order to understand solar variability and its effects. HMI will take high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible disk thus extending the capabilities of the SOHO‘s MDI instrument.
Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment
The Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE), will measure the Sun‘s extreme ultraviolet irradiance with improved spectral resolution, “temporal cadence”, accuracy, and precision over preceding measurements made by TIMED SEE, SOHO, and SORCE XPS. The instrument incorporates physics-based models in order to further scientific understanding of the relationship between solar EUV variations and magnetic variation changes in the Sun.
The Sun’s output of energetic extreme ultraviolet photons is primarily what heats the Earth‘s upper atmosphere and creates the ionosphere. Solar EUV radiation output undergoes constant changes, both moment to moment and over the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle, and these changes are important to understand because they have a significant impact on atmospheric heating, satellite drag, and communications system degradation, including disruption of the Global Positioning System. 
The EVE instrument package was built by the University of Colorado at Boulder‘s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, with Dr. Tom Woods asPrincipal Investigator, and was delivered to Goddard Space Flight Center on September 7, 2007. The instrument provides improvements of up to 70 percent in spectral resolution measurements in the wavelengths below 30nm, and a 30 percent improvement in “time cadence” by taking measurements every 10 seconds over a 100 percent duty cycle.
Atmospheric Imaging Assembly
The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), led from the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL), provides full-disk imaging of the Sun in ten white light, ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) band passes at high spatial and temporal resolution. The four telescopes that provided the individual light feeds for the instrument were designed and built at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO).
SDO will down-link science data (K-band) from its two onboard high-gain antennas, and telemetry (S-band) from its two onboard omnidirectional antennas. The ground station consists of two dedicated (redundant) 18-meter radio antennas in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, constructed specifically for SDO. Mission controllers will operate the spacecraft remotely from the Mission Operations Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The combined data rate will be about 130 Mbit/s (150 Mbit/s with overhead, or 300 Msymbols/s with rate 1/2 convolutional encoding), and the craft will generate approximately 1.5 terabytes of data per day, beaming back 150 million bits of data every second (The equivalent of about 380 full length movies).
After launch, the spacecraft was placed into an orbit around the earth with an initial perigee of about 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi). SDO will undergo a series of orbit-raising maneuvers which will adjust its orbit until the spacecraft reaches its planned circular, geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometres (22,000 mi), at 102° W longitude, inclined at 28.5°.
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- Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) mission website
- Where is the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) right now?
- SDO Outreach Material, HELAS