- The total mass of SDO at launch was 3000 kg (6620 lb); instruments 300 kg (660 lb), spacecraft 1300 kg (2870 lb), and fuel 1400 kg (3090 lb).
- Its overall length along the sun-pointing axis is 4.5 m, and each side is 2.22 m.
- The span of the extended solar panels is 6.25 m.
- Total available power is 1500 W from 6.6 m2 of solar arrays operating at an efficiency of 16%
- The high-gain antennas rotate once each orbit to follow the Earth.
April 21, 2010: Warning, the images you are about to see could take your breath away.
At a press conference today in Washington DC, researchers unveiled “First Light” images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space telescope designed to study the sun.
“SDO is working beautifully,” reports project scientist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. “This is even better than we could have dreamed.”
Launched on February 11th from Cape Canaveral, the observatory has spent the past two months moving into a geosynchronous orbit and activating its instruments. As soon as SDO’s telescope doors opened, the spacecraft began beaming back scenes so beautiful and puzzlingly complex that even seasoned observers were stunned.
Source for story here
NASA’s New Eye on the Sun Delivers Stunning First Images04.21.10
View related briefing materials here.
NASA’s recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is returning early images that confirm an unprecedented new capability for scientists to better understand our sun’s dynamic processes. These solar activities affect everything on Earth.
Some of the images from the spacecraft show never-before-seen detail of material streaming outward and away from sunspots. Others show extreme close-ups of activity on the sun’s surface. The spacecraft also has made the first high-resolution measurements of solar flares in a broad range of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths.
“These initial images show a dynamic sun that I had never seen in more than 40 years of solar research,” said Richard Fisher, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “SDO will change our understanding of the sun and its processes, which affect our lives and society. This mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.”