NASA will on Sunday release online the first complete view of the sun's entire surface and atmosphere.
The all-new visuals set to be released today at 11 a.m. EST have been generated by NASA’s two Solar TErrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft.
“Seeing the whole sun front and back simultaneously will enable significant advances in space weather forecasting for Earth, and improve planning for future robotic or crewed spacecraft missions throughout the solar system,” NASA said in a press release.
These two STEREO spacecraft, launched in 2006, are on diametrically opposite sides of the sun, 180 degrees apart. One is ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind, NASA said.
“STEREO traces the flow of energy and matter from the sun to Earth. It also provides unique and revolutionary views of the sun-Earth system. The mission observed the sun in 3-D for the first time in 2007. In 2009, the twin spacecraft revealed the 3-D structure of coronal mass ejections which are violent eruptions of matter from the sun that can disrupt communications, navigation, satellites and power grids on Earth.”
STEREO is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes program.
To view the image with supporting visuals and information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/stereo