Research NewsSolar Physics

SOHO Turns an Unblinking Eye on a Turbulent Sun

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Science  10 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5263, pp. 813
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5263.813


The European Space Agency's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has already logged 3 months of continuous observations of the sun from its vantage point 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Last week, SOHO researchers announced the first results from SOHO's diverse instruments. They include spectacular pictures of the sun's violent atmosphere, suggesting that even in its current lull of activity, the sun is unexpectedly turbulent; analyses of the solar wind showing that the sun's surface preserves an unaltered sample of the primordial solar system; and hints from oscillations of the entire sun that its internal engine may have a different structure than theorists had thought.