US set to launch satellite to observe the sun

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US poised to launch satellite to observe little-understood region of the sun

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, California (AP) — The U.S. space agency is preparing to launch a satellite to observe a little-studied region of the sun between its surface and atmosphere.

The Iris satellite is set to ride into Earth orbit on a rocket that will be dropped from an airplane over the Pacific on Thursday evening.

Iris will spend two years staring at a region of the sun that lies between its surface and the corona, the glowing white ring visible during eclipses. The goal is to learn more about how the region drives solar wind and to better predict space weather.

The mission costs $182 million.

Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 This article was distributed through the NewsCred Smartwire. Original article © The Associated Press 2013

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