The Far Side of the Sun Finally Photographed!
Posted by David Ozanich — 7 Feb 2011
Attention Sun fans! A little over four years ago, NASA launched a pair of twin spacecraft called STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) in a bid to capture a stereoscopic view of the Sun. And just yesterday, they completed their mission! Huzzah! Discover Magazine explains:
This image, taken just four days ago, is the result: the far side of the Sun! If you could bore straight through the center of the Sun in this image, plunging through nearly 1.4 million kilometers of solar fire, out the other side, and straight on for another 150 million kilometers, you'd be back at the Earth.
Mind you, the STEREO spacecraft reached their 180° separation today, and this image was taken just before that happened. The black line represent the small amount of solar real estate still invisible to the twin probes last week, but which can now be seen (I expect we'll get that image from NASA pretty soon). The images are slightly fuzzy around that line because to the two spacecraft that's the edge of the Sun where their view is distorted by perspective. However, that's a minimal issue, and this is the first time we've ever seen the actual entire far side of the Sun!
If you, like me, are still a bit confused about all of this, NASA has kindly released this video explaining the project: