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Image of the Sun from SOHO
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Courtesy of NASA

SOHO Catches Glimpse of the Sun's "Far Side"
News story originally written on June 23, 1999

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) caught a rare view of the far side of the Sun. Scientists can now see if a solar storm is coming before it reaches Earth. This may save the satellite industry millions of dollars each year.

When the Sun releases large amounts of energy, the light makes patches of hydrogen gas glow. This glow is invisible to Earth, but not to SOHO. This new technology can give scientists a few days warning before the storm actually hits.

SOHO also captured the largest shadow ever seen. When Comet Hale-Bopp passed by in 1997, SOHO took a few photographs. Behind the comet, was a shadow over 150 million kilometers long. When the comet came near the Sun, it developed a long tail made of hydrogen. This tail and the comet itself were projected onto the sky.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA