Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO): Data Collection Comparison

  • Released Tuesday, August 14, 2007
  • Updated Thursday, January 2, 2020 at 11:58AM
  • ID: 3435

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will dramatically increase our ability to collect data about the Sun. This visualization compares the temporal and spatial resolution of SOHO/EIT with TRACE. SDO will enable TRACE-like image and temporal resolution over the entire solar disk.

This movie opens with a full-disk view of the Sun in ultraviolet light (195 angstroms) from SOHO/EIT using the traditional TRACE 'gold' color table. We zoom in on the active region on the western limb where the TRACE instrument is pointing and fade-in an inset of the higher-resolution TRACE data. To emphasize the comparison, the TRACE inset is moved aside (with a solid white border) revealing the matching EIT data view (enclosed in the faint white border). At this point, we step through the time series of data frames. In this movie, much of the TRACE imagery is collected at time intervals between 3 and 40 seconds. On the other hand, a new SOHO/EIT image is taken about every 12 minutes (720 seconds). The SDO Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) will take full-disk solar images at four times the SOHO/EIT spatial resolution, a whopping 4096x4096, and at least 70 times the temporal resolution, 10 seconds or better per image. This creates a data rate over 1000x higher than SOHO/EIT. It is roughly equivalent to TRACE spatial and temporal resolution, but over the entire solar disk.

This version of the movie includes ALL TRACE data frames, including cases where the spacecraft re-points for short times. This makes the movie jump around considerably more than the 'smooth' version.

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Opening view of the Sun in ultraviolet light. Surprisingly, it is mostly dark, but for the high temperature active regions.

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A closeup view of the active region where TRACE is pointed.

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Faint box outlines range of the TRACE field-of-view.

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Matching view from TRACE appears, with a brigher outline box.

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The TRACE inset box moves aside, revealing the SOHO/EIT view. Note the dramatic different in visibility of fine structures in the coronal loops.

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More fine structure is visible in the TRACE field of view, including some brightening in the loops.

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When TRACE sees the early part of a bright flare, EIT is still between pictures.

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Another example comparing the visibility of fine structure in the loops.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


This visualization is related to the following missions:


This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

TRACE 195 Angstroms (Collected with the Optical Telescope sensor)
SOHO SOHO/EIT 195 (A.K.A. 195 Filter) (Collected with the Extreme-UV Imaging Telescope (EIT) sensor)

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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