ENP Newswire -
Release date- 26072013 -
The first images from IRIS show the solar interface region in unprecedented detail. They reveal dynamic magnetic structures and flows of material in the sun's atmosphere and hint at tremendous amounts of energy transfer through this little-understood region. These features may help power the sun's dynamic million-degree atmosphere and drive the solar wind that streams out to fill the entire solar system.
'With this grand opening of the telescope door and first observations from IRIS we've opened a new window into the energetics of the sun's atmosphere,' said
IRIS capabilities are tailored to let scientists observe the interface region in exquisite detail. The energy flowing through it powers the upper layer of the sun's atmosphere, the corona, to temperatures greater than 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (1 million kelvins). That is almost a thousand times hotter than the sun's surface. Understanding the interface region is important because it drives the solar wind and forms the ultraviolet emission that impacts near-Earth space and Earth's climate.
As IRIS's telescope door opened for the first time ever on
'The quality of the images and spectra we are receiving from IRIS is amazing-this is just what we were hoping for,' said
IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer mission that was launched on
The spectrograph splits the sun's light into its various wavelengths and measures how much of any given wavelength is present. Analysis of these spectral lines also can provide velocity, temperature and density data, key information that will enable scientists to track how energy and heat moves through the region.
In the coming weeks and months, scientists will scrutinize the IRIS data of the interface region on the sun. IRIS will collect data at least an order of magnitude faster than any previous solar observatory.
For more information about IRIS, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/iris
Goddard Space Flight Center
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