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The European Space Agency’s new solar satellite will be partially shielded using a bone-based pigment found in prehistoric cave paintings. The result will be a surreal cross between the earliest era of human cognition and creativity — that underground cinematic world of flickering animal images found in European caves — and the outer reaches of our current mechanical sciences.
From microscopic coral to massive planets, the natural world is full of beauty on a scale that can only be seen with the aid of a microscopic or a telescope. Announced today, the winners of the 11th annual International Science and Engineering Visualisation Challenge — sponsored by the journal Science and the US National Science Foundation — zoom into microscopic scales and zoom out onto planetary scales.
It might look more like abstract art than anything else, but you’re actually looking at a series of observations of the sun. Captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), this data was recorded to study the evolution of reconnection jets — streams of plasma that loop out an back into a star — on a small patch of the sun’s surface.
This video is for all the times you’ve been told not to look at the Sun (hopefully you listened and never did). But unlike other videos of the Sun, this one shows the Sun like you’ve never seen it before: in different colours. That’s because it’s made from data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and reveals wavelengths invisible to the naked eye.
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), launched in 1995, stares mostly at…you guessed it: the Sun. But when its instruments are trying to image other things near the Sun, all that light gets kind of overwhelming. So sometimes instruments on the SOHO just block the Sun out and turn their attention to other things. Like this sungrazer comet.
Trying to watch the sun’s explosions with your naked eyes is a recipe for blindness, but luckily NASA has a couple of telescopes that can show you all that fusion glory with none of the permanent ocular damage. Take, for instance, this 320,000km long canyon of fire.