NASA's 'Sun Viewer' app:
My source: Apple's App Store
Downloaded: June 2013
Thanks to the 'Solar and Heliospheric Observatory' (SOHO) which began operations in 1996, we are now able to track the Sun and monitor its activity in real time. NASA have created an app which allows you to access the images SOHO produces whilst orbiting the Sun from 92 million miles away.
The best part of the app for me is being able to monitor the Sun's 'coronal loops' which are not visible to the naked eye as they are magnetic fields. These magnetic fields emerge on the surface from their bending and twisting from deep within the Sun due to the differing density of the plasma below. It is most dense in the middle where nuclear fusion takes place, less dense in the 'radiative zone' beyond it and less still in the 'convective zone' which operates just beneath the surface. Due to the difference in density and therefore speeds in rotation, the magnetic waves become deformed and contorted which leads them to bulge up, just as if you were bending a slinky in different directions making it rise up and down. As these loops are magnetic they have a positive and negative pole located at each end. As the Sun continues to deform the magnetic fields the loops appear to swing, until finally the positive and negative end meet. This results in a 'solar flare' or a 'coronal mass ejection' or (CME wave) which releases billions of tonnes of charged particles. It is thanks to SOHO that we are even aware that these events take place and are now available for us to watch thanks to NASA's 'Sun Viewer' app.
The app also includes: 'Live Views', Visualisations', 'Videos', 'Missions', 'My Saved Content', 'The Solar Wind' and 'Aurora'.
BA Criminology & Sociology
University of Kent
Third year undergraduate