News archive

News archive

One of the highest hopes for SOHO, the European Space Agency (ESA)-NASA spacecraft is fulfilled with the detection of sunspots on the invisible far side of the Sun. This scientific marvel promises practical benefits. It could give an extra week's warning of possible bad weather in space, to astronauts and operators of satellites, power networks and other systems liable to be affected by eruptions on the Sun linked to sunspots.
Published: 9 March 2000
An interest in space exploration is frequently considered to be the preserve of scientists, but, as a concert last night demonstrated, this is not necessarily the case. A packed audience at St Patricks College, Maynooth, near Dublin, enjoyed a unique aesthetic experience in which space science and music were intertwined.
Published: 5 March 2000
Discoveries about how the Sun may affect the Earth's climate will bediscussed on the Spanish island of Tenerife, 25-30 September 2000. Theleading hypothesis in climate science is that most of the warming duringthe 20th Century was due to manmade gases, enhancing the naturalgreenhouse effect that reduces heat loss into space. Behind the scenes,and especially among space scientists, there is renewed attention tonatural changes in climate due to the Sun.
Published: 29 February 2000
At 22:30 Central European Time on 17 February the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft spotted a large puff of gas from the Sun. Subsequent images from the LASCO coronagraph on SOHO confirmed that this coronal mass ejection is heading towards the Earth. The gas will reach the Earth's vicinity on Saturday or Sunday, 19 or 20 February. When it hits the Earth's magnetic shield, it is likely to cause a magnetic storm. It may provoke spectacular displays of auroras high in the air over sub-polar regions of the Earth, and perhaps even at lower latitudes in Scandinavia and North America.
Published: 17 February 2000
Calculations completed today confirm that a comet spotted by a Lithuanian astronomer on 4 February is a previously unknown object, making it the 100th comet discovered with the SOHO spacecraft. Launched four years ago as a project of international cooperation between theEuropean Space Agency and NASA, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatoryhas revolutionized the science of the Sun. It has also revealed anamazing number of kamikaze comets plunging into the solar atmosphere, which help to make SOHO the most prolific comet finder in the history of astronomy. But SOHO-100 is an ordinary comet, and so are two others that have appeared in the past few days.
Published: 7 February 2000
Over the weekend of 8-10 January, a fortunate turn of events enabled the SOHO/EIT instrument to capture a magnificant solar firework display. Spectacular movies and high-resolution images are available on the SOHO hot shots page.
Published: 27 January 2000
With the Sun now entering its season of maximum sunspot counts, theworld's engineers have reason to be nervous. Blustery space weatherstirred up by the Sun can disrupt technological systems on the Earth andespecially in orbit, where 75 communications satellites worth about 15billion euros are at risk from solar storms. So the engineers will beglad to know that the world's chief watchdog for the Sun, the ESA-NASASOHO spacecraft, is now fully back on duty after a technicalinterruption from 28 November to 10 December that curtailed some of itsobservations.
Published: 14 December 1999
While the spaceworld has had its eyes on the successful launch of ESA's XMM telescope, SOHO recovery teams have been busy at GSFC. As of 10 December at 01:00 UT, the SOHO spacecraft is back in Normal Mode.
Published: 9 December 1999
SOHO is performing maneuvres in preparation for a return toNormal Mode this evening. All instruments are in a safeconfiguration for the maneuvres.Yesterday, a momentum management was performed prior to aroll back to the nominal pointing position. The spacecraft was left inRoll Maneuvre Wheels mode for the night.
Published: 8 December 1999
Today and tomorrow, SOHO will be performing maneuvres in preparationfor a return to Normal Mode tomorrow evening. All instruments are ina safe configuration for the maneuvres.
Published: 7 December 1999
SOHO is in Coarse Roll Pointing (CRP) mode at a roll angle of -76degrees. The current plan is to leave the spacecraft in thatconfiguration until Wednesday 8 December. Some instruments (MDI, EIT,LASCO and SWAN) are performing observations with some precautionary procedures (so-called 'safing flags') in place.
Published: 5 December 1999
As of Thursday 2 December, 19:42 UT, SOHO is no longer in Emergency Sun Reacquisition (ESR) mode, after a successful transition to CoarseRoll Pointing (CRP) mode.
Published: 1 December 1999
On Tuesday 1 December at 18:46 UT another SOHO spacecraftemergency was declared in order to secure Deep Space Network (DSN) contact with 34-metre antennas, after amanual triggering of the Emergency Sun Reacquisition (ESR) mode at about 18:40 UT.At about 18:10 UT, SOHO was in the middle of astationkeeping (orbit trim) manoeuvreRoll Pointing (CRP) mode was invoked automatically and the thruster burns were aborted. The cause of this anomaly is yet to be determined.
Published: 1 December 1999
As of Monday 29 November, 18:35 UT, SOHO is no longer in Emergency SunReacquisition (ESR) mode. The SOHO spacecraft emergency that was declaredto ensure adequate Deep Space Network (DSN) coverage has officiallyended. Instruments are in safe configuration and appear to beunscathed from the episode.
Published: 30 November 1999
Recovery of the SOHO spacecraft to normal science operations is proceeding with maneuvres to compensate for stay of about 21 hours in ESR mode, which perturbed the angularmomentum, orbit and roll of the spacecraft.
Published: 30 November 1999
Over the Thanksgiving weekend the joint ESA/NASA SOHO recovery team stepped into action once again when the SOHO spacecraft switched to Emergency Sun Reacquisition mode(ESR) on Sunday 28 November. ESR is the safe mode that is automatically triggered to protect the spacecraft in the event of any unforeseen circumstance.
Published: 28 November 1999
This Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) image shows the planet Mercury passing in front of the solar corona on 15 November 1999, as seen from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). The planet is seen as a featureless dark spot just above the solar disk.
Published: 22 November 1999
The Earth will have another close encounter with Comet Tempel-Tuttle's dust trail in the early hours of 18 November, and the resulting meteor storm, called the Leonids, could be spectacular.But the storm so eagerly awaited by astronomers is also making spacecraft controllers take precautions. Like a ship caught in a tempest, ESA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) will try to stay as safe as possible during the meteor storm.
Published: 10 November 1999
The celestial encounter between Mercury and the Sun on 15 November could help scientists gather more accurate information on the solar atmosphere than ever before. This type of planetary transit is a rather uncommon event that happens at intervals of 7, 13, or 33 years.
Published: 9 November 1999
A new computer screen saver made available by the European Space Agencynow allows computer users to watch spectacular, almost real-time imagesof our Sun.
Published: 4 November 1999
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