(Image Credit: NASA)
NASA’s IRIS Telescope has captured amazing images of an obscure layer of the Sun, showing previously unseen violence and complexity in the lower slivers of its atmosphere.
The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) Observatory launched back in June, a small spacecraft designed to collect data on the interface region, a little-understood area spanning the 3,000 – 6,000 miles between the solar surface and the corona.
Scientists hope IRIS can shed light on some of the Sun’s secrets, like why the temperature skyrockets from 5,500 degrees Celcius on the Sun’s surface to approximately 1 million degrees at the corona.
Researchers involved in the mission presented some findings on December 9 at the American Geophysical Union meeting at San Francisco.
“We are seeing rich and unprecedented images of violent events in which gases are accelerated to very high velocities while being rapidly heated to hundreds of thousands of degrees,” Bart De Pontieu, the IRIS science lead at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement. “These types of observations present significant challenges to current theoretical models.”
Read the entire article here at LiveScience.