Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Sunrise Two launched
by Staff Writers
Lindau, Germany (SPX) Jun 14, 2013

After the launching vehicle had transported the solar observatory Sunrise to the launch pad, the empty balloon was laid out behind the vehicle. (Credits: MPS). For a larger version of this image please go here.

The balloon-borne solar observatory Sunrise has lifted off - and will now begin its unique journey to the active Sun. The balloon-borne solar observatory Sunrise has lifted off successfully from Esrange Space Center in the north of Sweden. Tuesday at 7.37 a.m. CEST the launching vehicle released the gondola and the huge balloon lifted Sunrise into the sky.

Ever since in the past week the last ground-based tests had been completed, the team has been waiting for favorable weather conditions. Last Thursday a first attempt to launch had to be aborted, because the wind had suddenly grown stronger.

Polar winds will now grasp balloon and gondola and in the next days carry both westward around the North Pole in a traveling height of more than 35 kilometers. The solar observatory Sunrise carries the largest solar telescope ever to have left the Earth's surface. During the whole flight, the telescope will turn its unique gaze on the Sun.

At around 2 a.m. CEST the huge launching vehicle picked up Sunrise from the large experimental hall, that has been harboring the solar observatory in the last two months, and brought it to the launch pad. After the empty balloon had been laid out, the weather continued to hold and mission control gave its final consent to start filling the balloon with helium.

During ascent, the balloon will expand and finally reach a diameter of approximately 130 meters. Accompanied by the team's applause, Sunrise started to climb into the sky over Esrange Space Station near Kiruna in the north of Sweden at 7.37 a.m. CEST.

"The weather conditions are decisive for launching", Prof.

Dr. Sami K. Solanki, the mission's scientific head and director at the MPS, explains. "Sunrise can only safely reach its travelling height, if the winds in the air layers below blow only very lightly. This is especially important on the first few kilometers".

Since in a height of 35 kilometers the winds are currently quite strong, the Sunrise-team is anticipating a rather short flight time. After four or five days, the observatory could already reach the north of Canada, where it will land with the help of a parachute.

Until then, the Sunrise-team intends to use every second to turn Sunrise's unique gaze on the Sun. Apart from the telescope Sunrise carries further scientific instruments on board that will study the Sun's magnetic fields with high resolution. Scientists assume that these fields hold the key to many unsolved mysteries of solar physics. For example, it is still unclear, why the Sun's activity changes in an approximately eleven-year-cycle.

Currently, the Sun is in a state of high activity. In this phase the Sun's magnetic fields are especially dynamic and time and again the Sun hurls radiation and particles into space in violent eruptions.

Four years ago, Sunrise embarked on its first mission and was able to discern the smallest magnetic structures on the Sun's surface, the building blocks of the magnetic field. However, at that time the Sun remained in an unusually long activity minimum.

The Sunrise mission is led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany. Further partners are the High Altitude Observatory (Boulder, Colorado), the Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics (Germany), a Spanish consortium led by the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, the Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (Palo Alto, California), and NASA's Columbia Scientific Ballooning Facility.


Related Links
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Sun-Grazing Comet Flies Deep Into Solar Corona
Palo Alto CA (SPX) Jun 13, 2013
On December 15-16, 2011, a Sun-grazing comet, designated Lovejoy (C/2011 W3), passed deep within the hot solar atmosphere - the corona - effectively probing a region that could never be visited by spacecraft because of the intense heat radiating from the nearby solar surface. In a paper published in the journal Science, researchers from several institutions - including the Solar and Astrop ... read more

LADEE Arrives at Wallops for Moon Mission

NASA's GRAIL Mission Solves Mystery of Moon's Surface Gravity

Moon dust samples missing for 40 years found in Calif. warehouse

Unusual minerals in moon craters may have been delivered from space

Marks on Martian Dunes May Reveal Tracks of Dry-Ice Sleds

UH Astrobiologists Find Martian Clay Contains Chemical Implicated in the Origin of Life

Mars Rover Opportunity Trekking Toward More Layers

SciTechTalk: Mars rover readies for 'road trip' on the Red Planet

The Body Electric: Researchers Move Closer to Low-Cost, Implantable Electronics

TED conference sets stage for a week of bright ideas

NASA's Orion Spacecraft Proves Sound Under Pressure

Expert slams Congress over ban on U.S.-China space cooperation

China astronauts enter space module

China to send second woman into space: officials

Tiangong-1 ready for docking and entry

Shenzhou-10 mission to teach students in orbit

Russian cargo supply craft separates from International Space Station

Russian Space Freighter to Depart From Orbital Station

Star Canadian spaceman Chris Hadfield retiring

Experiments, Spacewalk Preps and Maintenance for Crew

Mitsubishi Heavy and Arianespace conclude MOU on commercial launches

Sea Launch IS-27 FROB Report Complete

Europe launches record cargo for space station

New chief urges Ariane 5 modification for big satellites

Kepler Stars and Planets are Bigger than Previously Thought

Astronomers gear up to discover Earth-like planets

Stars Don't Obliterate Their Planets (Very Often)

'Dust trap' around distant star may solve planet formation mystery

Chilean, U.S. firms join effort to expand e-waste recycling

Space Debris - One Solution

Moon Radiation Findings May Reduce Health Risks to Astronauts

Sony eyes long game despite console launch triumph

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement