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Thread: Happy Perihelion!

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    Solar Dynamics Observatory SDO's Avatar
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    26th December 2010
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    Default Happy Perihelion!

    Tomorrow (January 4) at 8 pm EST the Earth will be at perihelion. This is the point in our orbit around the Sun that is closest to the Sun. Why do we care?

    Because SDO takes a lot of pictures of the Sun. At perihelion they appear a little bigger than they do at aphelion in July. Here is a comparison of HMI Quick-Look continuum images from January and July. The two horizontal lines show how high the Sun appears today. When those lines are extended to the left, the July image is a little over 3% smaller. When we designed the instruments on SDO we had to make sure the largest appearance of the Sun would fit on the CCDs.

    Looks like we did a good job!

    Have a Happy Perihelion Day!


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    United States Avalon Member Amysenthia's Avatar
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    22nd June 2011
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    Default Re: Happy Perihelion!

    Thanks for the info. I wonder if this makes a difference in other ways besides just that the sun looks bigger in photos. Is the magnetic force stronger? Do solar rays reach us faster?

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    shadowstalker (3rd January 2012)

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