NASA’s STEREO A Spacecraft Set for Historic Earth Flyby After Nearly 17 Years in Space

NASA’s STEREO A spacecraft, which has been in space for almost 17 years, will travel between the Sun and Earth on August 12, 2023.

NASA’s STEREO A Spacecraft

After nearly 17 years in space, NASA’s STEREO A spacecraft will pass between the Sun and Earth on August 12, 2023, marking its initial Earth flyby. This event gives the spacecraft a distinct chance to collaborate with nearby NASA missions and uncover fresh insights about the Sun. The pair of Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft were launched in 2006, with the STEREO A spacecraft taking the lead. STEREO According to Fox News, STEREO A spacecraft led the way, and STEREO-B followed as they both circled the sun. The endeavor offered the initial three-dimensional perspective of the sun, enabling scientists to gather depth details from two-dimensional images.

Before and after the flyby, scientists are investigating topics beyond the mission’s usual focus. By August 12, 2023, STEREO A spacecraft will have completed an orbit around the Sun before Earth. In the weeks around the flyby, scientists are asking questions previously impossible during the mission.

Shortly after it was launched, the two-spacecraft mission achieved a notable accomplishment: it provided the initial view of the Sun from two separate viewpoints, similar to having two eyes. Later, on February 6, 2011, both the STEREO B and STEREO A spacecraft were positioned exactly 180 degrees apart as they traveled around the Sun. This marked the first instance when we saw the Sun as a complete sphere. By August 12, 2023, STEREO-A will have finished one full rotation around the Sun ahead of Earth’s orbit.

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NASA’s STEREO A Spacecraft Set for Historic Earth Flyby After Nearly 17 Years in Space – Photo by: (Space.com)

A Tri-Dimensional Glimpse of the Sun

STEREO A spacecraft will make 3D views by combining what it sees with NASA’s SOHO and SDO, and the European Space Agency’s observatory. Plus, as STEREO A spacecraft gets closer or farther from Earth during the flyby, it will get better at seeing different sizes of things on the Sun in 3D at different times. It’s kind of like how scientists adjust the focus on a really huge telescope that spans millions of miles.

Researchers using STEREO are making use of the opportunity to collect important information. They’re examining areas with a lot of activity and complicated magnetic regions under sunspots. Their goal is to show more about how these areas are put together in 3D, something we can’t normally see in flat pictures. Additionally, they’re testing a new thought that the large, curved shapes called coronal loops, which we often see up close in Sun pictures, might be different from what we thought.

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