NASA's IRIS beams back first images

NASA's latest solar observatory reveals its first observations

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By Kieron Allen

Credit: NASA

This image from NASA's IRIS spacecraft shows the region around two sunspots.


The first images and spectra from NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) observatory have arrived. The observatory was launched on 27 June 2013 and has been studying a little know region of the Sun called the transition region, an area where the energy that supports the Sun’s hot corona is transported.

The aim of the IRIS mission is to understand how our star’s corona is heated and to reveal the origin of the solar wind.

Throughout its two-year mission, IRIS will be delivering a continual flow of observations.

As well as taking images within the ultraviolet wavelength range (as seen in the image above), IRIS also captures very high-resolution spectral data.

This data is vital, providing physical measurements to explain the activity shown in the images.


 

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