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NASA STEREO Images Entire Sun For First Time Ever (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 02/07/11 10:28 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:30 PM ET

Nasa Images Whole Sun

On Super Bowl Sunday, NASA released the first-ever simultaneous view of the entire sun.

NASA's STEREO probes, twin telescopes launched in 2006, moved into position on opposite sides of the star, giving us an unprecedented look at the whole body in 3D.

"For the first time ever, we can watch solar activity in its full 3-dimensional glory," Angelos Vourlidas, a member of the STEREO science team, said in a statement, according to New Scientist.

This direct observation of the whole sphere will help scientists better predict "solar weather," i.e. sun spots, coronal mass ejections and solar flares, which can disturb our technologies on Earth and in space. Previously, only half of the sun was viewable at a time, and scientists relied on magnetic currents on the visible side to forecast solar activity on the sun's far side.

"The sun is a truly complex object which influences many aspects of our lives," Richard Harrison, a member of the STEREO team, said in a statement, according to FoxNews. "In the same way that you would not expect to understand the workings of the brain by studying just a small part of it, a global investigation into the nature of our star as a complete object is essential to understanding how it works."

Check out NASA's video of the entire sun (below), then have a look at a massive solar eruption that occurred in August of 2010.

WATCH: [via New Scientist]

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