Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Northern Summer/Southern Winter Solstice 2012

This video of the sun, taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), covers almost 26 hours from June 18 at 8:44 UT to June 19, 10:34 UT. Video Credit: NASA SDO

On Thursday, June 21st, 2012 at 03:30 UTC (Wednesday, June 20th at 11:30 EDT) the sun will reach its most northerly point in the sky, visible overhead from the Tropic of Cancer. This will mark midsummer in the northern hemisphere and midwinter in the southern hemisphere. This day also marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and of winter in the southern hemisphere. At this point, the sun has the coordinates (J2000) Right Ascension 05 hr 59 min, Declination +23° 26', located in the constellation Taurus, the Bull.

We celebrate the arrival of summer with this video taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Over the past two weeks we have been watching the Active Region 1504 (AR 1504) appear on the Eastern limb of the sun, release several M-class solar flares while moving across the Earth facing side of the Sun. As it is decaying and moving towards the Western limb of the Sun, we are getting one good last look at these beautiful sunspots. This video covers almost 26 hours from June 18 at 8:44 UT to June 19, 10:34 UT.

And now, the mission particulars...

Launched February 11th, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is NASA's mission to observe the sun. SDO is part of the Living With a Star (LWS) program. The goal of the LWS program is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to effectively address those aspects of the connected Sun–Earth system that directly affect life and society. SDO's goal is to understand the sun's influence on Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously. The goal of SDO is to investigate how the sun's magnetic field is generated and structured, how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.

To learn more about the sun and to stay current on solar activity, visit the mission home page of Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), .

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