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TRACE and Solar Phenomenon. BY: Riverside Mathew Lucas, Bethany Mickavitz, Michael Swingle, and Jonna Boydo. TRACE. T ransition R egion A nd C oronal E xplorer. TRACE. Observes three-dimensional magnetic structures in the Photosphere

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TRACE and Solar Phenomenon

BY: Riverside

Mathew Lucas, Bethany Mickavitz,

Michael Swingle, and Jonna Boydo










  • Observes three-dimensional magnetic structures in the Photosphere
  • Defines the geometry and dynamics of the Transition Region and Corona
  • Takes images almost simultaneously (less 0.1 second arc)
  • Observes in ultra hot temperatures that are extremely hard to investigate
  • Is the first U.S. solar research satellite since the Solar Maximum Mission


As outlined by NASA

  • Explore the relation between diffusion of the surface magnetic fields and the changes in heating and structure throughout the Transition Region and Corona.
  • Follow the evolution of the magnetic field structures from the solar interior to the corona.
  • Investigate the mechanisms of the heating of the outer solar atmosphere.
  • Investigate the triggers and onset of solar flares and mass ejections.


  • Was designed and built at the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics lab
  • In April 1998, was launched on a Pegasus vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base
  • Is in a joint operation with SOHO to study the rising phase of the solar cycle to sunspot maximum
  • TRACE produces images rapidly while SoHO does slowly
Cut-Away View

Front End




Telescope Housing

and Guide Telescope

Focal Plane



Solar Phenomena TRACE is Investigating...

  • Plasma Confinement
  • Plasma Heating
  • Solar Flares
  • Can cause magnetic disruptions such as interfering with satellite connection, cell phone connection, electric power grids, and animals that travel by Earth’s magnetic field

Plasma Confinement

  • The Sun is made up of plasma
  • Plasma is a state of matter that forms when tremendous amounts of energy cause the bonds that hold atoms together to break apart
  • This photograph shows loops which are huge arches of plasma that extend thousands of miles into space
  • Loops last weeks and even months
  • Scientists believe that powerful disturbances on the Sun’s magnetic field hold may cause these formations
  • TRACE is investigating this

Plasma Heating

  • Most of the time the area around something gets hotter as you move closer to the heat source but this is opposite from the Sun
  • The temperature increases as you move farther away from the surface of the Sun
  • The Sun’s surface is 5,000 degrees Kelvin while 100,000 kilometers into the atmosphere the temperature increases to nearly 2,000,000 degrees Kelvin
  • TRACE is collecting data to help explain this

Solar Flares

  • Is a sudden eruption of energy on the Sun’s surface
  • They only last a couple of minutes and don’t change the brightness of the Sun but are very important
  • Large flares on the Sun through out sudden bursts of high energy radiation which can disrupt and even damage communication systems on Earth

Why TRACE Matters

  • TRACE is investigating things that we don’t know about the sun’s magnetic field
  • TRACE is extremely close to the sun and takes detailed pictures
  • The solar phenomena TRACE studies is odd and unique and disrupts Earth’s connections to space
  • TRACE has obtained a lot of new and crucial information that will better enable us to predict solar phenomena.