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That’s a serious beach umbrella

Engineers last week successfully stacked and unfolded a giant 1 million SPF sunscreen that will protect NASA’s next generation space telescope as it investigates the history and working of the universe.

The tennis court-sized solar shield will protect the James Webb space telescope’s delicate infrared sensors from interference by the sun. It will be folded during launch and unfurl on command once the telescope, the most powerful space observatory ever built, reaches its orbit. 

Deploying the shield will create a hot sun-facing side and cold side pointed away from our star. The observatory’s warm side will reach 185 degrees Fahrenheit, while the cold side will be a chilly -388 degrees F thanks to the sunshield’s five layers that passively radiate incoming solar energy out into space. The sun, Earth and moon will always remain on one side to prevent their infrared energy from swamping the Webb’s sensing equipment, which is designed to pick up the same wavelengths from faint and very distant sources in the universe. 

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The Sun Through Different Eyes
The sun is a mysterious celestial body—it is part of all our lives each day yet we really don’t know what it looks like, save for the paltry information our eyes can divine in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Yet it broadcasts its fusion-generated energy in a diversity of wavelengths. Each one shows the sun through a different set of eyes, like the example above, when a telescope recorded on Dec. 12 a huge coronal hole in the star’s northern hemisphere that was most apparent in the extreme ultraviolet part of the spectrum. 
According to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), “The dark region is where the magnetic field of the Sun is more open, emitting streams of high-speed solar wind. Over the next few days, this solar wind is likely to impact Earth’s magnetosphere and possibly cause displays of aurora.”
SDO’s multiple-wavelength data also went in to produce the video below, which shows the sun in a number of bands that are normally invisible to people.
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Image and video courtesy NASA.

The Sun Through Different Eyes

The sun is a mysterious celestial body—it is part of all our lives each day yet we really don’t know what it looks like, save for the paltry information our eyes can divine in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Yet it broadcasts its fusion-generated energy in a diversity of wavelengths. Each one shows the sun through a different set of eyes, like the example above, when a telescope recorded on Dec. 12 a huge coronal hole in the star’s northern hemisphere that was most apparent in the extreme ultraviolet part of the spectrum. 

According to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), “The dark region is where the magnetic field of the Sun is more open, emitting streams of high-speed solar wind. Over the next few days, this solar wind is likely to impact Earth’s magnetosphere and possibly cause displays of aurora.”

SDO’s multiple-wavelength data also went in to produce the video below, which shows the sun in a number of bands that are normally invisible to people.

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Going Solar
by Txchnologist staff
This graphic shows the many ways that homeowners can tap the sun to power domestic bliss. Suggestions run the gamut from modern contrivances like solar water heaters and light tubes to tried-and-true clotheslines and shade trees.
Rocky Mountain Institute, a think tank focused on resource efficiency through integrative design, includes the average payback for solar upgrades in its graphic. This is a very general measure of when cost savings through using solar energy versus conventionally purchased grid electricity pays for the cost of the system and financing. Click here for a larger version of the image. [[MORE]]

Going Solar

by Txchnologist staff

This graphic shows the many ways that homeowners can tap the sun to power domestic bliss. Suggestions run the gamut from modern contrivances like solar water heaters and light tubes to tried-and-true clotheslines and shade trees.

Rocky Mountain Institute, a think tank focused on resource efficiency through integrative design, includes the average payback for solar upgrades in its graphic. This is a very general measure of when cost savings through using solar energy versus conventionally purchased grid electricity pays for the cost of the system and financing. Click here for a larger version of the image. 

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Playing With Fire

by Txchnologist staff

In a recent video, GE made fireballs out of balloons filled with a mix of helium and hydrogen to visualize the sun’s power. We just thought we could make some hot gifs out of it.

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