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Scientific Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of SDO is to understand the physics of solar variations that influence life and society. It achieves that goal by targeted basic research focused on determining how and why the Sun varies, and on improving our understanding of how the Sun drives global change and space weather. As one of the crucial instruments required to meet this goal, the AIA focuses on the evolution of the magnetic environment in the Sunís atmosphere, and its interaction with embedded and surrounding plasma. The science areas within the LWS program to which AIA contributes directly are highlighted in the figure below. By its crucial contribution to part of the mesh of linked science questions, AIA plays a key role within the entire LWS program. The images of the corona taken by YOHKOH, SOHO/EIT, and TRACE have shown that all coronal structures evolve in density, temperature, and position on time scales as short as minutes. Conditions within coronal loop volumes and open magnetic structures appear to depend primarily on ílocalí conditions, i.e., on conditions determined by the path of the field line, or loop, from end to end in the photosphere. This sensitive dependence combined with the marked temporal evolutions of the atmospheres contained within loops and open-field regions on relatively short time scales, causes images to be dissimilar for different band passes, even if their characteristic temperature intervals are rather small. Added to the relatively
slow thermal evolution, there is an abundance of waves, flows, and impulsive phenomena that occur on significantly shorter time scales of minutes or less.
The time scales on which the field itself evolves range from seconds to years.

Last Modified on Monday, 03-Mar-2008 21:11:40 EST
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