Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Spacecraft to make 3D Sun movies

Nasa is launching two spacecraft to make the first 3D movies of the Sun.
The Stereo mission will study huge eruptions from our parent star known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). These colossal clouds of energetic particles can "fry" the electronics of satellites in Earth orbit and disrupt electricity distribution grids. Stereo is expected to improve the ability of researchers to forecast the worst aspects of this "space weather". "Coronal mass ejections are a main thrust of solar physics today," said Mike Kaiser, the Stereo project scientist at the US space agency's (Nasa) Goddard Space Flight Center. "With Stereo, we want to understand how CMEs get started and how they move through the Solar System." The mission comprises two spacecraft which are being lofted on a Delta-2 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch window opens at 0138 GMT on Thursday.


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