SOHO maximizes views of a minimal sun


  • Mike Carlowicz


The Sun may be less boisterous now than it was in 1989 or than it will be in 2000, but it is anything but quiet. In fact, the first images returned this spring from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) reveal a Sun that is quite active even though it has waned to its solar minimum.

“Movies made from SOHO ultraviolet data show that there is continuous motion and action everywhere on the Sun,” said Joseph Gurman, an astrophysicist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and coinvestigator for SOHO's extreme ultraviolet imaging telescope (EIT). “Even at the quietest places on the Sun, including the so-called coronal holes, there is a tremendous amount of activity… a general twinkling everywhere we look.”