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IRIS firslight image in comparison to SDO
Credit: NASA/SDO/IRIS


IRIS First Light

The solar atmosphere is a stirred by violent magnetic storms and flares. It is an incredibly dynamic region where temperature increases from the surface of the sun outward. The origin of these tremendous outbursts, and the physical processes that heat the upper solar atmosphere, are not yet understood, but they play a vital role in the production of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation, and in space weather. Now NASA has a new satellite observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph or IRIS, which can help answer this mystery. IRIS is designed to study the high-energy ultraviolet radiation from the interface between the lowest part of the solar atmosphere, the photosphere, and the million-degree outer solar corona. The first light IRIS image is shown above, with an image of the same region from the Solar Dynamics Observatory for comparison. The exquisite detail shown by the IRIS images is remarkable, and for the first time allows solar physicists to detail the rapid, small-scale changes in this region. IRIS was launched on June 28, 2013.
Published: July 29, 2013


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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!
Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 05-Aug-2013 06:59:55 EDT