NASA releases first-ever 3-D video of sun

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 7, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 7 at 10:02 AM

On Super Bowl Sunday, NASA released first-ever 3-D images of the sun.

NASA's STEREO probes, twin telescopes launched in 2006, moved into position on opposite sides of the sun, capturing complete and simultaneous images of the sun.

"For the first time ever, we can watch solar activity in its full 3-dimensional glory," says Angelos Vourlidas, a member of NASA's STEREO science team.

Each STEREO probe photographs half of the star and beams the images to Earth. Researchers then combine the two images to create a sphere.

But these aren't just ordinary pictures. The STEREO telescopes are tuned to four wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet radiation, allowing the space agency to trace solar activity, such as flares, tsunamis and magnetic filaments.

"With data like these, we can fly around the sun to see what's happening over the horizon—without ever leaving our desks," says STEREO program scientist Lika Guhathakurta.

Advances in space weather forecasting will help the NASA plan for future robotic and manned spacecraft missions throughout the solar system.

CLICK HERE to view more NASA videos of the sun.

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