London, Feb 7 (IANS) A NASA-led mission has provided the world’s first ever 3D image of the sun’s surface.
Two satellites orbiting the sun perfectly aligned on opposite sides for the first time and took images that created the most complete picture ever of its surface.
Scientists, including those from Britain’s Rutherford Appleton Lab in Oxfordshire, believe the photo is as significant as those taken of the first men on the moon and the first ever images of our planet from outer space, the Telegraph reports.
The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission, led by the US’ space agency NASA, launched the two satellites in 2006 and they have been orbiting the sun ever since, according to a NASA statement.
The satellites are travelling at different speeds and so every few years they achieve 180 degrees of separation on exactly opposite sides of the sun.
Chris Davis, project scientist for UK research, said: “The STEREO mission has already shown us some wonderful sights, solar eruptions arriving at the Earth to comets struggling against the solar wind.
“I’m very excited about this new stage of the mission and am looking forward to many years of unique observations,” he added.