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High Altitude Observatory - Windows to the Universe

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High Altitude Observatory and Rhodes College

High Altitude Observatory

Scientists at the High Altitude Observatory (HAO) are working to understand the changes we see in the Sun over time, and how these changes affect the atmosphere of the Earth. There are four main areas of study at HAO.

Some people try to understand the structure of the inside of the Sun, and how it changes over time. They collect detailed information about the Sun, and try to learn about the basic physical processes that affect the interior.

Others focus on the magnetism of the Sun and the related events that we see near the surface. This research connects the study of the physical conditions in the interior with the activity in the hot gas above the surface.

Another group of scientists build instruments to observe the outer atmosphere of the Sun, and try to understand the changes that we see over hours or even years. Radiation and particles move out from the Sun, sometimes in sudden eruptions.

As the light and gas from the Sun reaches the Earth, others study the impact of the Sun's output on the magnetic field and atmosphere of our planet. This helps us protect satellites and astronauts, and teaches us how the Sun affects the global climate.

Last modified February 9, 2005 by Travis Metcalfe.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF