Using NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, astronomers defining the details of this boundary, helps us learn more about our solar neighborhood, which is bathed throughout by solar material – a space environment that we must understand to safely explore beyond our planet.
Above, views of the solar wind from NASA’s STEREO spacecraft (left) and after computer processing (right). Scientists used an algorithm to dim the appearance of bright stars and dust in images of the faint solar wind. This innovation enabled them to see the transition from the corona to the solar wind. It also gives us the first video of the solar wind itself in a previously unmapped region. Credits: data from Craig DeForest, SwRI
A paper on the findings was published in The Astrophysical Journal on Sept. 1, 2016.
Conceptual animation (not to scale) showing the sun’s corona and solar wind. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Lisa Poje