SDO-4 / IRIS / Hinode Workshop

Dynamics and energetics of the coupled solar atmosphere
The synergy between state-of-the-art observations and numerical simulations

Hote InterContinental The Clement, Monterey CA, March 12-16, 2012

About SDO

Informational Links:

SDO: The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us 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.

SDO's goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining

  • 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.


Below are some of SDO's Latest Images.


  • SDO launched on February 11, 2010, 10:23 am EST on an Atlas V from SLC 41 from Cape Canaveral.


SDO will study how solar activity is created and how Space Weather comes from that activity. Measurements of the interior of the Sun, the Sun's magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the irradiance that creates the ionospheres of the planets are our primary data products.


SDO has three scientific experiments:

  • Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA)
  • EUV Variability Experiment (EVE)
  • Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI)

Each of these experiments perform several measurements that characterize how and why the Sun varies. These three instruments will observe the Sun simultaneously, performing the entire range of measurements necessary to understand the variations on the Sun.


SDO is a sun-pointing semi-autonomous spacecraft that will allow nearly continuous observations of the Sun with a continuous science data downlink rate of 130 Megabits per second (Mbps). The spacecraft is 4.5 meters high and over 2 meters on each side, weighing a total of 3100 kg (fuel included). SDO's inclined geosynchronous orbit was chosen to allow continuous observations of the Sun and enable its exceptionally high data rate through the use of a single dedicated ground station.

Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) small Explorer

Links with information on IRIS:

The primary goal of the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) explorer is to understand how the solar atmosphere is energized. IRIS will focus on the interface region between photosphere and corona where most of the mechanical energy driving solar atmospheric heating is deposited. Understanding this crucial interface between the photosphere and corona remains a fundamental challenge in solar and heliospheric science. IRIS will trace the flow of energy and plasma through the chromosphere and transition region into the corona using spectrometry and imaging. The IRIS science investigation combines advanced 3D numerical modeling with a high resolution (1/3 arcsec, 1s) UV imaging spectrograph.

The IRIS science investigation is centered on three themes of broad significance to solar and plasma physics, space weather, and astrophysics, aiming to understand how internal convective flows power atmospheric activity:

  • Which types of non-thermal energy dominate in the chromosphere and beyond?
  • How does the chromosphere regulate mass and energy supply to corona and heliosphere?
  • How do magnetic flux and matter rise through the lower atmosphere, and what role does flux emergence play in flares and mass ejections?


Links with informationon Hinode:

Hinode is an international mission to study our nearest star, the sun. To accomplish this, the Hinode mission includes a suite of three science instruments -- the Solar Optical Telescope, X-ray Telescope and Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer. Together, these instruments study the generation, transport, and dissipation of magnetic energy from the photosphere to the corona and record how energy stored in the sun's magnetic field is released, either gradually or violently, as the field rises into the sun’s outer atmosphere.

Hinode's science goals are:

  • To understand the processes of magnetic field generation and transport including the magnetic modulation of the Sun’s luminosity
  • To investigate the processes responsible for energy transfer from the photosphere to the corona and for the heating and structuring of the chromosphere and the corona
  • To determine the mechanisms responsible for eruptive phenomena, such as flares and coronal mass ejections, and understand these phenomena in the context of the space weather of the Sun – Earth System.