Spying on the Sun
During the next few years, a multitude of new spacecraft will investigate our stormy star in unprecendented detail.
Space missions dedicated to studying the Sun have a long legacy. NASA's first space station, Skylab, carried the Apollo Telescope Mount, an instrument astronauts used to observe the Sun in optical, ultraviolet, and X-ray wavelengths for about 9 months beginning in 1973. Other important solar missions include Helios (1974 and 1976), NASA's Solar Maximum Mission (1980), the ongoing joint NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) mission Ulysses (1990), and the Japanese X-ray satellite Yokoh (1991).