NASA twin probes let us view the sun in 3D

nasa-first-ever-stereo-images-of-sun

Yesterday, NASA confirmed a very vital piece of information to all mankind: we now know that the sun is, without a doubt, a sphere. For the first time, the space agency is able to see both the front and back of the sun. Luckily, there were no surprises. NASA now has an uninterrupted feed of both sides of the sun, allowing it to monitor and gather invaluable information about its health and inner workings.

To obtain the 360 degree view, NASA launched twin STEREO probes into opposing orbits of the sun. Each satellite sends back high resolution pictures of half of the star and computers here on Earth combine the images to form a full view. The human eye is no match for these cameras. The probes can actually take pictures of four wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet radiation, giving scientists even more important information on a consistent basis.

“With data like these, we can fly around the sun to see what’s happening over the horizon—without ever leaving our desks,” said STEREO program scientist Lika Guhathakurta. “I expect great advances in theoretical solar physics and space weather forecasting.”

Like advances in weather forecasting, seeing the backside of the sun can help scientists see things like sunspots form before they are in view of Earth, giving us valuable time to prepare for events like flares and plasma clouds that could head toward our small planet. “With this nice global model, we can now track solar storms heading toward other planets, too,” points out Guhathakurta. “This is important for NASA missions to Mercury, Mars, asteroids … you name it.”

The STEREO probes left earth in Oct. 2006 and have been working toward alignment ever since. The two probes aligned on Feb. 6, 2011, which is when NASA received its first full view of the sun. The agency receives new photos every 10 minutes.

NASA has been busy lately. In the last few months it has discovered alien life on Earth and discovered several habitable planets outside of our solar system.

See the sun in 3D

Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!
Emerging Tech

Geoengineering is risky and unproven, but soon it might be necessary

Geoengineering is a field dedicated to purposely changing the world's climate using technology. Call it 'playing god' if you must; here's why its proponents believe it absolutely must happen.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discuss how technology intersects with Earth Day, a new Tim Cook biography, indoor container farming, robot spy submarines, A.I. death metal, and more.
Gaming

Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.
Emerging Tech

Hawaiian botanists’ drone discovers a plant thought to be lost forever

In what may well be a world first, botanists in Hawaii recently used a drone to find a species of plant that scientists believed was extinct. The plant was located on a sheer cliff face nearly 20 years after its last sighting.
Emerging Tech

Alphabet’s Wing drones now have FAA approval to deliver packages in the U.S.

Alphabet Wing has become the first company to receive Air Carrier Certification from the FAA. This means that it can begin commercial deliveries from local businesses to homes in the U.S.
Emerging Tech

A battery-free pacemaker harvests and stores energy from heartbeats

Researchers in China and the United States have developed a new battery-free pacemaker which gathers its required electricity from the energy of heartbeats. Here's why that's so exciting.