Vandenberg Readies to Launch NASA Satellite

NASA’s newest solar satellite is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on 6/26 and, once in its polar, sun-synchronous orbit around Earth, will provide the most detailed look ever at the sun’s lower atmosphere. The two-year Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission will examine how solar material moves, gathers energy, and heats up as it travels through the region, where most of the sun’s ultraviolet emissions are generated, according to an Astronomy magazine article published this week. “Imagine giant jets like huge fountains that have a footprint the size of Los Angeles and are long enough and fast enough to circle Earth in 20 seconds,” Alan Title from Lockheed Martin told the publication. “IRIS will provide our first high-resolution views of these structures along with information about their velocity, temperature, and density.”

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