The images from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory Ahead (STEREO-A) spacecraft have been sequenced into a time-lapse video showing the Earth, Mars and Pluto. The photos were captured earlier this June while STEREO-A was on the far side of the sun doing some standard procedures.
STEREO-A was looking at the sun’s inner heliosphere. The spacecraft used its Heliospheric Imager 1 instrument to capture the stunning photos.
“The HI-1 camera has a 20-degree square field of view, centered around 25-degrees away from the sun,” explains Karl Battams to Space.com. “The sun is off to the ‘left’ of the images.”
Battams is an astrophysicist and computational scientist at Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, USA. Battams add that the view was better a week ago when the Milky Way is centered in the field of the view.
“While we do have Pluto labelled in the pretty pics online, it’s not actually visible in them — it’s far too faint and small for us to detect,” points out Battams. “Earth and Mars, obviously, are easily spotted, and we’re lucky to have a stunning Milky Way backdrop again.”
STEREO-A was launched back in Oct. 25, 2006 together with STEREO-B, its twin spacecraft. The “A” stands for “Ahead” in STEREO-A while the “B” in STEREO-B as stands for “Behind.”
The spacecrafts have taken other images of the sun over the years. However, in October 2014, we lost contact on STEREO-B. We have not heard from STEREO-B again.
This video is among the best news we have covered about space recently.
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