NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) satellites have provided the first three-dimensional images of the sun. For the first time, scientists are able to see structures in the sun's atmosphere in three dimensions.
According to NASA's site, "STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes program (STP). This two-year mission, launched October 2006, will provide a unique and revolutionary view of the Sun-Earth System. The two nearly identical observatories - one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind - will trace the flow of energy and matter from the Sun to Earth. They will reveal the 3D structure of coronal mass ejections; violent eruptions of matter from the sun that can disrupt satellites and power grids, and help us understand why they happen. STEREO will become a key addition to the fleet of space weather detection satellites by providing more accurate alerts for the arrival time of Earth-directed solar ejections with its unique side-viewing perspective."
This news was greeted by skepticism from solar experts and "Teletubbies" fans nationwide. "I don't doubt these pictures are real," said Melvin Bromide of Needles, California. "But they're not of the sun. Any sane person knows the sun is a flat thing with a baby in the middle of it. To say otherwise will keep the baby from giggling and that's bad, as we all know."
To see this photo correctly, you need high-tech 3-D glasses.-- Ward