Oct 28, 1998
Astronomygoes into orbit with John Glenn
Space Science News home
Discovery is carrying a battery of telescopes to study the sun, planets, and supernovae
Different telescopes will have different jobs to do during the mission. The Solar Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (SEH), developed at the University of Southern California, will keep an eye on the sun. SEH is able to photograph the sun at ultraviolet wavelengths between 250 and 1,700 angstroms. UV images like the one below trace hot gas and magnetic structures in the sun's atmosphere. Solar activity is on the rise as the sun heads for a sunspot maximum in the year 2000. By operating ultraviolet telescopes during the Sun's increasingly active phase, scientists hope to explore the connections between complex solar magnetic fields and potentially hazardous solar eruptions.
STAR-LITE was made by University of Arizona scientists from rugged aluminum-silicon carbide. The strong metal composite material assures that STAR-LITE's 16-inch primary mirror can withstand the forces of launch better than a primary made of glass. The composite material also is lightweight, making it an ideal space payload. Unlike UVSTAR, which depends on shuttle orientation to see its science target, STAR-LITE can point anywhere in the shuttle bay, cradled on its rotating platform.
Future stories in this series will cover more science on STS-95, including human protein experiments, attempts to measure the solar constant, and microgravity fluid research.
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