The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

August 28, 2017


Over the last three years, SESDA staff comprising the NASA Heliophysics Education Consortium (HEC) has been planning and designing the largest education event that NASA has ever attempted – the August 21st, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Staff scientists, computer system professionals, web developers, education technology specialists, and educators successfully brought the event to fruition in Carbondale, IL for a weekend of eclipse programs and celebrations at Southern Illinois University culminating with a 4 hour NASA EDGE webcast. SESDA staff coordinated the efforts of over 100 NASA and external groups, 300 Subject Matter Experts, and 94 official NASA eclipse sites around the country. Preliminary results indicate over five billion web hits and 200 TB of downloaded data.

Early Movies of Cassini’s First Dive

May 16, 2017

Still from Cassini’s ‘Porthole’ Movie of Saturn


In preparation for its grand finale plunge into Saturn in mid-September, 2017, the Cassini spacecraft has begun a series of orbits which bring it to within 5,000 miles of the planet’s cloud tops. Its new trajectory allows for the collection of exceptionally high resolution science data that hasn’t been possible since Cassini was first inserted into orbit in 2004. In particular, several movies taken April 26 have been created by the Cassini imaging team of the first, low altitude dive showing the north pole’s hexagonal-shaped jet stream and the spacecraft’s path along the planet’s surface. Future passes will include science and engineering data from the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) using instrument command sequences created by Team ADNET/SESDA instrument operators and programmers.

SESDA Team Supports Successful Twin Rocket Launches

March 20, 2017

SESDA Team Supports Successful Twin Rocket Launches


SESDA personnel supported the successful launch of twin NASA sounding rockets from the Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks, Alaska on March 2, 2017 into a strong auroral arc. The purpose of this rocket campaign is to study the driving conditions of neutral jets that flow in concert with auroral arcs. SESDA Engineers lead the design and fabrication of a new wire boom system that measures the electric field. This new wire boom system performed flawlessly. SESDA scientists will be heavily involved in the subsequent data analysis which promises to advance the understanding of the coupling between the upper atmosphere and the aurora.

Helioviewer Team Wins Award

January 30, 2017


The SESDA 3 Helioviewer team won an award for Best Graphic Design at the Sciences and Exploration Directorate 2017 Poster Party. The team’s poster highlighed major new features of the Helioviewer project, including sophisticated tools which enable scientists and members of the public to explore and make movies of data from multiple solar and heliospheric instruments.