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Body checking the Sun - 3-D Images

Written by : LAM Hok-yin     June 2007

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released the first 3-D images of the Sun in late April. The pictures were taken by a twin spacecraft called Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory or STEREO. Taking 3-D images of the Sun is like having a CT scan of the Sun itself. It helps scientists understand the complicated solar physics and make more accurate and timely space weather forecasts.

STEREO were launched to space in late October 2006. Their orbits follow that of the Earth, with one spacecraft running ahead of the Earth, and the other behind. They separate from one another by about 45 degrees. Similar to how human eyes operate, such a setting provides a perception of depth making objects look 3-dimensional.

Figure
3-D image of the Sun (Source: NASA)

 

To view the 3-D images taken by the spacecraft, you need a pair of special glasses like those used for 3-D movies. In the NASA webpage, there is an instruction for making a pair of 3-D glasses. Go and give it a try!

To view 3-D images of the Sun:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stereo/news/stereo3D_press.html

To know more about STEREO:
http://www.nasa.gov/stereo

To make your own 3-D glasses:
http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/classroom/glasses.shtml

 

Last revision date: <19 Dec 2012>