For my post this week, I decided to explore and learn about a spacecraft that I was not familiar with. After some research, I came across SOHO. SOHO is the longest-lived Sun-watching satellite to date. SOHO over its lifetime has been able to observe two full 11-year solar cycles and discover thousands of comets close to the Sun.
SOHO is the result of a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The satellite was launched on December 2nd, 1995 from Cape Canaveral, Florida and contains 12 different scientific instruments. In December of 2020, SOHO will have reached 25 years of continuous exploration and observation of the Sun.
SOHO has fundamentally changed ideas about what the Sun is over the course of its lifetime. According to Bernard Fleck, the ESA project scientist for SOHO, the satellite has changed our conceptions of the Sun from “a picture of a static, unchanging object in the sky to the dynamic beast it is.” Without SOHO, our knowledge of the Sun would not be where it is today.