IRIS and SDO Imagers

This image compares the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) at 1600 Angstroms (on left) to the IRIS' Si IV (on right). Credit: NASA. Credit: NASA/SDO/IRIS

This image compares the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) at 1600 Angstroms (on left) to the IRIS’ Si IV (on right). Credit: NASA. Credit: NASA/SDO/IRIS

Wow, the the new IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) spacecraft promises to be a valuable addition to the satellites already observing the Sun.

The IRIS has one instrument, an ultraviolet telescope with a mirror of around 20 cm (8 in) with an imaging spectrograph. The imaging setup will take observations at specific temperatures to target material on the solar surface (photosphere) and the lower atmosphere. These observations are in the form of an image every 5 to 10 seconds and spectra about every one to two. The result is a very capapble set up that has a small field of veiw with amazing resolution, features down to 240 km (150 miles).

I like NASA’s suggestion to think of IRIS as acting a “microscope” for the wider field imagers aboard other satellites such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory peering into regions we know little of up to now.

A larger look at the IRIS image above can be found here.