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STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) mission

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: NASA

 Context:  The STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) mission launched twin spacecraft, STEREO-A and STEREO-B, in 2006, to study the Sun.

  • This mission achieved several milestones, including capturing the Sun as a complete sphere for the first time by reaching a 180-degree separation in their orbits.
  • STEREO-A’s recent approach to Earth offers a unique opportunity for scientific observations. By combining its views with other spacecraft, including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), STEREO-A will provide 3D views of the Sun.
  • This stereoscopic vision allows scientists to gain depth perception and explore features like active regions and coronal loops in unprecedented detail.
  • STEREO-A’s passage through Earth’s vicinity also allows for an in-depth study of solar eruptions, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which can impact Earth’s technology.

This approach provides multipoint measurements to understand the evolution of CMEs’ magnetic fields. Additionally, as solar activity increases towards the predicted solar maximum in 2025, STEREO-A’s observations will shed light on the changes in the Sun’s behaviour during different phases of its cycle.