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APL's STEREO Mission Stars In Smithsonian IMAX Film

STEREO's first 3-D images of the sun are featured.
by Staff Writers
Baltimore MD (SPX) May 07, 2008
STEREO spacecraft animations created by Steve Gribben of the Technical Communications Group at APL sizzle on the big screen in 3D Sun, a digital IMAX film that opened in March at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The 20-minute movie features the STEREO - for Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory - mission to help audiences understand the impact the sun has on Earth.

Moviegoers feel like they're floating alongside the spacecraft while coronal mass ejections blast from the sun, solar particles stream past, and auroras dance across the Arctic Circle's night sky.

Featured in the film is Nicky Fox of APL's Space Department, who explains how these shimmering waves of light are created when charged particles from the solar wind are channeled through Earth's magnetic field into the polar regions. Essentially, she says, when the sun sneezes, the Earth catches a cold.

Additionally, STEREO's first 3-D images of the sun are featured, and the APL-based mission operations center is highlighted with several team members shown operating the twin observatories.

The film, which is being shown internationally and in multiple languages, will run at the Smithsonian's Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater through at least late May.

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A Super Solar Flare
Washington DC (SPX) May 07, 2008
At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington-widely acknowledged to be one of England's foremost solar astronomers-was in his well-appointed private observatory. Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw.

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