NASA Celebrates 20 Years of Heliophysics

A composite image of the sun captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

A composite image of the sun captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory NASA

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This spacecraft has kept an eye toward the center of our solar system.

While NASA's main focus seems to be researching the rest of the galaxy, the space agency has occasionally turned its attention to our own star.

In partnership with the European Space Agency, NASA launched the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, in December 1995. The spacecraft revolutionized the field of heliophysics, shedding light on how the sun works and how it affects the rest of the solar system. Space weather, such as potentially dangerous solar flares, is now better understood. 

“Thanks to SOHO, there’s a growing public recognition that we live in the extended atmosphere of a magnetically active star,” said Joe Gurman, U.S. project scientist for SOHO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. “And people realize that solar activity can affect Earth.”

To learn more about SOHO and its scientific discoveries, check out the video below from NASA: