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Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 15:23 EDT
Artist Concept of Solar-B
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Artist Concept of Solar-B

November 27, 2012
The Solar-B spacecraft will circle Earth in a sun-synchronous orbit for at least three years. This is a polar, rather than equatorial, orbit and will allow the instruments to remain in continuous sunlight for nine months of each year. Collectively, Solar-B's three science instruments -- the Solar Optical Telescope Focal Plane Package, X-ray Telescope and Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer -- will record how energy stored in the sun's magnetic field is released as that field rises into the sun's outer atmosphere. Image credit: NASA/GSFC/C. Meaney