NASA eClips: Keeping Two Eyes on the Sun!
This NASA video segment looks at the STEREO mission, and how its two satellites can produce images of the sun that cover its earth-facing side as well as its back side. For the first time in human history, we can see the complete, '360' sun surface.
The STEREO-A and STEREO-B spacecraft are identical twins, launched into orbits parallel to Earth's, which allows them to slowly drift in opposite directions around the sun. At the present time, they are 90-degrees from Earth along Earth's orbit, which means that each of their combined images can now see both the earth and back-sides of the sun at exactly the same time.
Solar astronomers will use this data to get nearly a full week's warning on major storms and flares about to come into view from Earth, with potentially harmful effects to our technology whan major storms occur.
Students will also learn about solar eruptions and how they affect Earth and astronauts in space.
Related Mathematics Problems
These problems provide a mathematical introduction to some of the issues related to solar activity and space weather
Problem 404: STEREO Spacecraft give 360-degree Solar View Students use STEREO satellite images to determine which features can be seen from Earth and which cannot. They learn about the locations and changing positions of the satellites with respect to Earth's orbit. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: angular measure, extrapolation; distance = speed x time] [Download PDF]
Problem 298: Seeing Solar Storms in STEREO - II Students explore the geometry of stereo viewing by studying a solar storm viewed from two satellites. [Grade: 10-12 | Topics: Geometry; Trigonometry] [Download PDF]