SOHO: Exploring the Sun

SOHO: Exploring the Sun


The sun is the source of all life on earth, providing light and warmth to the organisms that inhabit our planet. Tracking sunspots is one way that scientists study and try to understand the sun. Use the resources on this sheet to help you learn more about how scientists track sunspots.


Go to the SOHO site to get an introduction to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and learn about how the organization studies the sun from its deep core to the outer corona and the solar wind.

As you go over the site, think about your answers to these questions, which you'll discuss in class (you can record your answers on the SOHO: Exploring the Sun student sheet):

  • What does the acronym SOHO stand for?
  • What does heliosphere mean? (You might need a dictionary.)
  • Describe the mission of SOHO in detail.
  • What three aspects of the sun is SOHO studying?
  • When was SOHO launched?
  • Name the two modules of SOHO. Describe the difference between the two.
  • From where in the United States is SOHO commanded?
  • How many instruments are on-board SOHO?
  • The images that we will study for our two-week project are taken by the MDI/SOI instrument. What do the initials MDI stand for?
  • What exactly about the sun does the MDI instrument study?

Over the course of a two-week period, you should obtain a minimum of ten images of the sun (either an intensitygram or magnetogram) from the SOHO Daily Images site. You must consistently choose an intensitygram or magnetogram every day.

Follow the directions on your Tracking the Movement of Sunspots student sheet to help you analyze the images and record the information.

This esheet is a part of the Sunspots 3: Tracking the Movement of Sunspots lesson.

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