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Friday, February 19, 2010

Yet Another 21st Century Moment

A team at NASA has made available a free app for the iPhone that shows images of the sun taken by 2 satellites in solar orbit, one ahead of the earth and one behind.  Together, their extreme UV telescopes cover almost 90% of the sun's surface, and give a very-wide baseline stereo view of the visible surface of the sun and the space around it (in fact, the satellites are called STEREO-A and STEREO-B, for "Solar-Terrestrial Relations Observatory").  The new app provides news about the available images, and additional info about each image.  Some of the images are stills, some are movies, and some are computer-enhanced images which can be oriented in 3 dimensions by gestures on the touchscreen of the iPhone. There's one recent movie that shows a comet approaching the sun; as it gets closer the comet's tail oscillates back and forth, pushed by the solar wind.

Ralph 124C41+ didn't have it any better!

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