Nr 18-96 - Paris, 23 April 1996

SOHO unmasks the sun Presentation of first results

Five months after its launch (cf. ESA press release 63/95) SOHO has now reached its final position and the first results of this new sungazing spacecraft will be presented to the media by a team of scientists at 10h30 on Thursday 2 May at 10h30 at ESA Headquarters, 8-10 rue Mario Nikis, 75015- PARIS.

These first results, illustrated with film and still images, will include :

- Ceaseless turmoil in the solar atmosphere -- even though the Sun appears extremely quiet just now to ground-based telescopes.
- A possible new way to forecast harmful ejections of gas from the Sun, by spotting changes in the Sun's magnetism.
- Fluctuations in the non-stop wind carrying atomic particles from the Sun, revealed by the shape of a luminous cavity in interplanetary space.
- Currents of gas flowing just below the Sun's visible surface, disclosed for the first time by hi-fi observations of solar oscillations.

SOHO is an ESA/NASA joint international project. The spacecraft was designed and built in Europe, NASA provided the launch and is operating the satellite from its Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. European scientists provided eight of the observatory's instruments and US scientists a further three. This mission is part of the international Solar- Terrestrial Science Programme. The next is Cluster, a flotilla of four spacecraft that will study how the Sun affects the Earth and surrounding space is scheduled for launch on the maiden flight of Ariane 5 at the end of next month..

Media representatives intending to attend this presentation are kindly invited to complete and return the attached reply form by fax to ESA Public Relations Division (+

Note to Editors : pictures and a video news release are available on request by fax from the ESA Public Relations Division.