Thursday, February 9, 2017

Happy Launch-versary SDO!

Seven years ago Saturday the Solar Dynamics Observatory rose into the Florida skies atop an Atlas V rocket. It was a spectacular sight that put a spectacular mission into orbit. To celebrate, here are some pictures of the models in my office with a solar spectrum lighting them up. (A prism in the window creates the spectrum. It's fun to watch people's reactions when it is displayed on the wall across the hall.)

On the left is the booster model and the right is a little display model of SDO. You can see more of the spectrum around the shadow of the nosecone. I think the rainbow looks pretty good on them. Reminds me of the sundog we saw during launch all those years ago.

SDO has helped to create over 2600 scientific papers since we began producing science data in May 2010. We are very happy that many young scientists are able to “cut their research teeth” in one of the 49 PhD dissertations that have been written using SDO data and science. People keep using helioviewer to look through the images and make movies.

Thanks for using our data. Many thanks to the science teams that keep SDO running.

Happy Launch-versary SDO!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January 2017 Maneuvers

Today SDO will perform the EVE Field-of-View calibration maneuver between 1315-1600 UTC (8:15-11:00 A.M. ET) and the HMI Offpoint calibration maneuver between 1630-1907 UTC (11:30 a.m.- 2:07 p.m. ET). During calibration maneuvers HMI magneto grams and Dopplergrams will not be available and AIA images will not be centered and may be blurry.

Last Wednesday, January 4, 2017, SDO successfully executed Momentum Management burn #28. Science data is not available during the 30 minutes of the burn.

The EVE Cruciform calibration maneuver will take place next Wednesday at 1700 UCT (noon ET) and the HMI Roll on January 25, 2017, at 1500 UTC (10:00 a.m. ET).

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Website Maintenence - 12/29/16

We are conducting planned maintenance on the SDO website. There may be outages or interrupted service. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Planned Activities for January 2017

Another New Year is upon us and it is time to plan the next set of SDO calibration maneuvers. This includes the leap second that needs to be applied just before January starts. Why do we care about leap seconds? SDO moves about 3 km each second (about 1.9 miles every second). So does every other object in orbit near SDO. We all have to use the same time to make sure our collision avoidance programs are accurate. So we all add a leap second to the end of 2016, delaying 2017 by one second. 

Our schedule of maneuvers is:

  1. 12/31/16:  Apply Leap Second at 235959 UTC

  2. 01/04/17:  Momentum management (Delta-H) Maneuver #28, 1950 UTC (2:50 PM ET)

  3. 01/11/17:  EVE FOV (1315 UTC) and HMI/AIA Flatfield (1630 UTC) Maneuvers

  4. 01/18/17:  EVE Cruciform, 1700 UTC (12:00 noon ET)

  5. 01/25/17:  HMI Roll Maneuver, starts 1500 UTC (10:00 am ET)

  6. 02/01/17:  AIA GT/PZT Calibration, 1500 UTC (10:00 am ET)
  7. Monday, October 31, 2016

    Lunar Transit of October 30, 2016

    Looks like the Moon moved across the Sun again yesterday. Not a double eclipse, but a nice example of how the Moon's orbit brings it into SDO's field of view a couple of times each year. Here is the 48-hour movie showing the lunar transit in AIA 304 (a good Halloween choice!)

    Wednesday, October 19, 2016

    The Next Two Weeks in SDO History

    Today starting at 1700 UTC (1:00 pm ET) SDO will perform the EVE Cruciform calibration maneuver.

    Next week, on October 26, 2016, SDO will perform the EVE Field of View calibration maneuver at 1315 UTC (9:15 am ET) and the HMI/AIA Flatfield calibration maneuver at 1630 UTC (2:30 pm ET).

    During calibration maneuvers SDO science data may be unavailable, blurry, or otherwise not usable. On the other hand, the images can be fun to look at! At left is an AIA 304 image showing how SDO is tipped up a little during the first leg of the cruciform.

    On October 30, 3016, SDO will experience a Lunar Transit between 1956 and 2056 UTC (3:56 and 4:56 pm ET). The Moon will cover about 59% of the Sun at the peak of this transit.

    Thursday, September 1, 2016

    A Beautiful Joint Solar Eclipse!

    Today's Joint Solar Eclipse looked beautiful from SDO. Here's a short movie in AIA 193 to show you what it looked like. It starts with the Earth between SDO and the Sun. As the Earth moves out of the way, you can see the disk of the Moon covering part of the Sun. The wobbling of the Sun is due to SDO turning off the fine-guidance system during the Earth eclipse.

    Meanwhile, solar physicist Ryan Milligan was traveling in Tanzania and saw the eclipse from the ground. Here is a lovely picture of an annular eclipse — not quite total, but better than partial. This picture is a excellent example of a "Ring of Fire". The different views of the Sun, SDO seeing a partial eclipse of the Sun by the Moon while parts of Africa saw an annular eclipse, come from SDO's position to the East of Africa, a little North, and far out in space.

    Thanks to Ryan for letting me show his post. You can see more of his eclipse pictures at