Check out this intriguing image from the STEREO telescope which provides the data for Solar Stormwatch. It was suggested to me by Jules, one of our fantastic volunteers, and here is her explanation:
Solar Stormwatch doesn’t just look for solar storms. Interplanetary dust and bits of space junk occasionally strike the Stereo spacecraft. The cameras image these collisions and we see the sunlight scattered off bits of the spacecraft that are knocked off by the impacts. 40 minute exposures are required to image the faint solar storms so anything drifting through the camera’s field of view close to the spacecraft will appear as a dramatic bright streak. An unexpected discovery was the presence of much more dust out there than previously thought – something worth knowing as the impact of a dust particle on the spacecraft could be anything between 3 kilogrammes and 3 tonnes!
Thanks Jules. Amazing stuff! Get involved in the project now at www.solarstormwatch.com
PS: If there’s something you’d like to suggest for the Daily Zooniverse, just tag it with #dailyzoo on Talk or Twitter!