The solar is a continuing presence in our lives — each actually and figuratively. If it wasn’t, life on this planet wouldn’t exist. However the means of studying increasingly more concerning the solar is not any simple process — and most of the leaps ahead in terms of photo voltaic information that humanity has had within the twenty first century come from a pair of spacecraft. They’re often known as STEREO-A and STEREO-B, for causes that may quickly develop into obvious — and one in every of them is about to cross close to Earth for the primary time since they ventured into house 17 years in the past.
NASA’s personal announcement of the occasion explains simply what it’s that’s so important about these two spacecraft. STEREO stands for “Photo voltaic TErrestrial RElations Observatory,” and every of the 2 spacecraft was set on a selected path by means of house in order that NASA might get a way of what the solar seems to be like in three dimensions.
In different phrases, as STEREO program scientist Lika Guhathakurta phrased it, earlier than the launch of the 2 craft, “we had been ‘tethered’ to the Solar-Earth line — we solely noticed one aspect of the Solar at a time.”
STEREO-A and STEREO-B had been launched into house on October 25, 2006, and it took practically 5 years for the 2 of them to line up on reverse sides of the solar. Based on NASA, their orbits synced up on February 6, 2011, permitting a 360-degree view of the solar for the primary time. Three years later, NASA misplaced contact with STEREO-B.
As a Gizmodo article on the spacecraft notes, this week marks the primary time since its launch STEREO-A has flown by Earth — and the information it’s been recording continues to be helpful for scientists in getting a greater understanding of the solar. And with new information concerning the solar nonetheless rising, it’s not laborious to grasp why the information gathered by STEREO-A stays vitally essential.
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