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Here Comes the Sun

To learn more about the Sun, NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory in Febraury 2010. NASA describes the Solar Dynamics Observatory as the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. Over the course of its five-year mission, it will study the sun's magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate. The images the telescope captures provide clarity 10 times better than high-definition television and transmit more comprehensive science data faster than previous solar spacecraft, according to NASA. The first pictures were released this last week.
Why study the Sun? Aside from being a major source of energy, the Sun is the source of all space weather which affects the Earth and all that lives on the Earth. Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space, largely phenomena involving ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation and other matter in space. The best known ground-level consequence of space weather is geomagnetically induced currents. These are damaging electrical currents that can flow in power grids, pipelines and other conducting networks. Rapid magnetic changes on the ground - that occur during geomagnetic storms and are associated with space weather - can also be important for activities such as geophysical mapping and hydrocarbon production.
Go to NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory Webpage to see the new beautiful images.
The complete idiot's guide to the sun by Jay M. Pasachoff
Nearest star : the surprising science of our sun by Leon Golub & Jay M. Pasachoff
Three steps to the universe : from the sun to black holes to the mystery of dark matter by  David Garfinkle and Richard Garfinkle

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