About The SDO Mission
SDO: The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us understand the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.
SDO's goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining
- how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured
- how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.
- SDO launched on February 11, 2010, 10:23 am EST on an Atlas V from SLC 41 from Cape Canaveral.
SDO will study how solar activity is created and how Space Weather comes from that activity. Measurements of the interior of the Sun, the Sun's magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the irradiance that creates the ionospheres of the planets are our primary data products.
SDO will fly three scientific experiments:
- Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA)
- EUV Variability Experiment (EVE)
- Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI)
Each of these experiments perform several measurements that characterize how and why the Sun varies. These three instruments will observe the Sun simultaneously, performing the entire range of measurements necessary to understand the variations on the Sun.
SDO is a sun-pointing semi-autonomous spacecraft that will allow nearly continuous observations of the Sun with a continuous science data downlink rate of 130 Megabits per second (Mbps). The spacecraft is 4.5 meters high and over 2 meters on each side, weighing a total of 3100 kg (fuel included). SDO's inclined geosynchronous orbit was chosen to allow continuous observations of the Sun and enable its exceptionally high data rate through the use of a single dedicated ground station.
A brochure that outlines mission overview, objectives, and science investigations
Data Rights and Rules for Data Use
The SDO science investigators agree to abide the Rules of the Road developed
for the Sun-Earth Connection and its successor, the Heliophysics Division.
- The Principal Investigators (PI) shall make available to the science
data user community (Users) the same access methods to reach the data and
tools as the PI uses.
- The PI shall notify Users of updates to processing software and
calibrations via metadata and other appropriate documentation.
- Users shall consult with the PI to ensure that the Users are
accessing the most recent available versions of the data and analysis
- Browse products are not intended for science analysis or publication
and should not be used for those purposes without consent of the PI.
- Users shall acknowledge the sources of data used in all publications
- Users shall include in publications the information necessary to
allow others to access the particular data used.
- Users shall transmit to the PI a copy of each manuscript that uses
the PI's data upon submission of that manuscript for consideration of
- Users are encouraged to make tools of general utility widely
available to the community.
- Users are also encouraged to make available value-added data
products. Users producing such products must notify the PI and must clearly
label the product as being different from the original PI-produced data
product. Producers of value-added products should contact the PI to ensure
that such products are based on the most recent versions of the data and
analysis routines. With mutual agreement, Users may work with the PI to
enhance the instrument data processing system, by integrating their products
- The editors and referees of scientific journals should avail themselves
of the expertise of the PI while a data set is still unfamiliar to the
community, and when it is uncertain whether authors have employed the most
up-to-date data and calibrations.