This is the Solar Dynamics Observatory Mission blog. It will consist of mission status, news, and event updates.
During the maneuver science data may be missing or blurry.
If this had been a real comet observation the scientists would want to examine the missing right-hand side for the comet tail. AIA 171 Å was our best channel for looking at the comets.
My thanks to the SDO Flight Operations Team for making the test look easy.
The Sun will appear to shift to the left during the test. That means it is useful for Kreutz comets in July and August, when the comets appear to come from the right and pass across the face of the Sun. Some science data, such as magnetograms and Dopplergrams, will not be produced while the Sun is shifted from the center of the images.
When a sun-grazing comet arrives, we will be ready to go comet watching!
Here are other planned maneuvers through the rest of 2018.
The pair of Lunar Transits on September 9th and 10th are separated by approximately 4 hours 22 minutes, so they are considered separate events. However, the relative motion of SDO and the Moon cause what could be a single transit to split into two. We will discuss this more as we approach the transits.
The sun and moon will be separated by 0.604° on August 21, 2018. (The Sun is 0.5° across, so the Moon is not in the field of view of the SDO images.) This is not close enough to be flagged as a transit, but the proximity may be of interest.
The RGO is best known to solar scientists as the place where sunspot pictures were made from 1874 until 1976. Those photographs have been used by many scientists to understand how sunspots behave. Having photographs allows us to go back and remeasure the sunspot properties to see if something was missed.
Annie Maunder studied the Sun at RGO. She worked with her husband (E. Walter Maunder) for many years. After they were married she was unable to get paid for her work but continued her research into the Sun, sunspots, and whether the Sun affected our climate.
Along the way, she helped develop the Butterfly Diagram (1904 and 1922), wrote a popular book on the Sun (1908), and examined the Maunder Minimum, the period from 1645 to 1715 when few sunspots were seen and the climate in England was colder than average (1894). She traveled to far-flung places and photographed solar eclipses, all at a time when women were not supposed to do such things. Her outstanding research led to her election as a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1916, the first female ever to be admitted to the Society.journal article. It is easy to see that sunspots follow a pattern. They start at higher latitudes at the beginning of the cycle and form at lower and lower latitudes as the sunspot cycle continues. There is nothing special about solar maximum either (the two thick lines mark solar maximum for Solar Cycles 12 and 13.) Sunspots continue to appear closer to the equator until solar minimum. Then the cycle repeats. David Hathaway to generate a modern butterfly diagram. The thick dashed line shows when RGO stopped taking data in 1976 and the US Air Force tool over. The data set continues until 2016 when Hathaway retired. Each sunspot cycle is a little different, but they all share the high latitude to low latitude progression.
We still use the butterfly diagram to study the Sun. Any paper studying the solar dynamo will probably include one just to show how well their model works. We also can use helioseismology to generate butterfly diagrams inside the Sun. These show that sunspot cycles start much earlier than sunspots can measure.
My thanks and appreciation to Annie Maunder. Please go and use the AMAT at RGO soon!
Thanks to Helioviewer.org for the labels.
Enjoy the Solstice!
Next week SDO will perform the EVE cruciform maneuver on Wednesday, April 18, starting at 1430 UTC (10:30 am ET). Once again, SDO will roll to normal pointing before the test and roll 180° after the test.