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Bart De Pontieu: Lockheed-Led Team Observes Solar Atmospheric Activity With NASA’s IRIS

Bart De Pontieu: Lockheed-Led Team Observes Solar Atmospheric Activity With NASA's IRIS - top government contractors - best government contracting event

sunLockheed Martin-led team has discovered new information on the sun’s atmosphere through NASA‘s Interface Region Imaging Spectograph as part of a mission to study energy transfer and the impact of solar atmospheric activity.

“The results focus on a lot of things that have been puzzling for a long time and they also offer some complete surprises,” Bart De Pontieu, IRIS science lead at Lockheed Martin, said Thursday.

IRIS generated five findings that focus on temperature variations in the sun’s atmosphere and activity such as mini-tornadoes, solar winds and solar flares – all of which are published in the Science publication.

NASA said IRIS discovered heat pockets or “solar heat bombs” with hotter temperatures than in the surface, outflows of solar material in the solar interface, mini-tornadoes in the chromosphere that transfer energy to the corona, jets of plasma at the root of solar winds and nanoflares that eject high-energy particles to the chromosphere.

“Combining IRIS data with observations from other Heliophysics missions is enabling breakthroughs in our understanding of the sun and its interactions with the solar system,” said Jeff Newmark, interim director of NASA’s heliophysics division.

Lockheed manages the IRIS mission for the space agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Written by Anna Forrester

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