Tuesday, June 30, 2015

EVE Cruciform Tomorrow; An SDO Cover Story

Tomorrow, July 1, 2015, SDO will perform an EVE cruciform calibration material. From 1800-2230 UTC (2:00-6:30 p.m. ET), SDO will look to and fro and up and down to allow EVE scientists to track the aging of their instrument.

Here is a collection of magazines and books that have used an SDO image as part of their cover art. There are 34 covers, and another due to come out this week! Three covers do not include an SDO image. The SDO Science Definition Team report is the beginning of the SDO mission and features SOHO artwork. The SDO Book in Solar Physics has a picture of the spacecraft on the cover. But the most intriguing is the book "Twenty-Five Astronomical Observations that Changed the World," a volume in the Patrick Moore Series on Practical Astronomy. It has a picture of Saturn, Titan, and Epimetheus on the cover. Inside it says that the EUV observations of comets near the Sun by AIA is one of the 25 observations that changed the world. That honor earned the cover a spot on the SDO Covers!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Temporary Data Outage

The SDO data system is undergoing an upgrade today, and there will be no images available until the upgrade is completed.  We're very sorry for any inconvenience.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Flare, A CME, A Storm!

Yesterday we saw an M6.5 flare from active region 12372 followed by a filament liftoff, which turned into a coronal mass ejection, which became a a strong geomagnetic storm. Here are the NASA iSWA Kp values for the last four to show you how the Earth responded to the CME. Kp is a measure of the magnetic storm intensity, averaged over the many stations that measure the Earth's magnetic field. The NOAA SWPC has issued a G2 alert for today, meaning moderate storm activity should continue. The Kp index is described at the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences.
Soon after the flare, another filament rose off the surface. It will probably strike the Earth's magnetosphere tomorrow (June 24). This means the geomagnetic storm will continue for awhile. Great aurora come from these storms, but they also produce energetic particles and currents in ground-based pipelines and electrical wires.
Welcome to the declining phase of Solar Cycle 24!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

SDO/EVE Calibration Rocket Did Not Follow Planned Trajectory

The SDO EVE calibration rocket was cut down by range safety about 16 seconds after launch. The rocket did not fly the planned trajectory and was cut down when it appeared that it could fly out of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The payload was recovered and will be prepared to fly again. The reflight could be as soon as next year.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Launching a Sounding Rocket to Help Calibrate NASA's SDO

Tomorrow at high noon Mountain Time, the SDO EVE calibration sounding rocket will launch from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. It is only 15 minutes of flight with 5 minutes of solar viewing, but we use that data to calibrate the EVE and AIA instruments on SDO. The wavelengths of light these instrument measure can't be measured from the ground. Every 2 years or so we send a copy of the EVE instrument to make the same measurements as the flight instrument that orbits the Earth. The two measurements should agree and where they don't, the on-orbit instrument data is adjusted.

More details are in the SDO EVE Calibration rocket rocket article on SpaceRef or the SDO NASA webpage.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

DDS offline, Back online at 0130 UTC (9 p.m. ET)

The SDO DDS went offline at about 2247 UTC (6:47 p.m. ET). The SDO Flight Operations Team is looking into the outage.

UPDATE: As of 0130 UTC (9 p.m. ET Tuesday) the SDO DDS in back online and delivering science data to the SOCs. All data downlinked while the DDS was offline will be sent by retransmissions.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

IRU Calibration Maneuver is Complete

Today's IRU calibration Maneuver has finished. Here is a short movie showing what SDO did. We first pointed the high-gain antennas away from the Earth (that's why we didn't receive any science data). Next came a roll, 2 pitches, 2 yaws, 2 rolls, and a final roll back to our normal orientation. If you have ever waved your smartphone in a figure-8 to calibrate the navigation, you know what we were doing!
video
Thanks to the SDO FOT for taking the overnight shift to do this maneuver.