NASA released the first 360 degree image of the entire sun, which comes courtesy of NASA’s twin STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) spacecraft, which aligned exactly opposite each other around the sun to capture the image.
Richard Harris, the principal investigator for the U.K. instruments on STEREO, said “The sun is a truly complex object which influences many aspects of our lives, In the same way that you would not expect to understand the workings of the brain by studying just a small part of it, a global investigation into the nature of our star as a complete object is essential to understanding how it works.”
Scientists are looking for ways to predict space weather and the violent eruptions that can explode from the suns surface. These eruptions can damage satellites and disrupt communications and even disable power systems on Earth.
David Parker, the director of space science and exploration for the U.K. Space Agency said “Solar missions such as STEREO and SDO not only give us more information about star formation and evolution throughout our universe, but are of vital importance in our quest to further understand the sun’s processes and the effect they can have on our planet and way of life, This spectacular 360-degree view is another triumph for the STEREO mission, which continues to obtain some of the best images yet of the sun.”
KitGuru says: The spacecraft are offset from each other, one flying ahead of the Earth and the other behind.