IMAGES: Sun Watching With X-ray Vision

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Science  21 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5610, pp. 1159
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5610.1159a

Turmoil on the sun often means trouble here on Earth, because outbursts of solar particles can toast satellite electronics, squelch radio transmissions, and even knock out power grids. The newly activated Solar X-ray Imager will provide space weather forecasters and other scientists with a sharper picture of the sun's roiling atmosphere. From its perch on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES-12 satellite, the instrument can detect “soft” x-rays overlooked by other sun-gazing satellites, such as SOHO. The resulting images allow researchers to pinpoint flares and rents in the sun's corona that presage geomagnetic storms. Visitors to the site can download movies of the last 12 hours of solar activity, updated every 5 minutes, or browse an archive of stills and daily and monthly summary footage.

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