The U.S. Postal Service has issued a new set of stamps celebrating 10 years of observing the sun by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
On June 18, the stamps were presented in a ceremony at the main post office in Greenbelt, Md., According to a statement released by NASA on Friday.
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“It is such a pleasure to see these magnificent stamps,” said Dr. Nicky Fox, director of NASA’s heliophysics division at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, in the announcement. “I look at each of these Solar Dynamics Observatory images and remember how they help us learn more about the sun and how its ever-changing atmosphere can affect the Earth and the planets. I am delighted that these images are being shared by Post with the whole country. “
The sun, the heart of the solar system, may be nearly 150 million kilometers from Earth, but in SDO photos it appears in stunning detail.
The mission was first launched in February 2010, giving researchers a better understanding of the creation of solar activity and its impact on space weather, in addition to obtaining critical measurements of the interior of the star, atmosphere, magnetic field and energy production.
Using two imaging instruments – the Atmospheric Imaging Set and the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager – SDO began collecting data a few months after its launch, providing ultra-high definition images of the sun in 13 different wavelengths.
After more than a decade of observation, SDO has provided scientists with hundreds of millions of images.
The 10 SDO images on the stamps show a range of solar activity observed by the spacecraft.
For example, a coronal hole – a magnetically open area from which high-speed solar wind is released into space – caps the north polar region of the sun.
An active sun is depicted on another stamp, highlighting areas of intense and complex magnetic fields on the sun that are likely to erupt with solar flares or explosions.
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A plasma explosion is shown with a coronal mass ejection – an eruption of magnetized solar matter that can create space weather effects on Earth.
Coronal curls, sunspots, and sun flares are also featured in shades of red, orange, and blue.