IRIS: The Science of NASA's Newest Solar Explorer

At the end of June 2013, NASA will launch its newest mission to watch the sun: the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS. IRIS will show the lowest levels of the sun's atmosphere, the interface region, in more detail than has even been observed before.

This will help scientists understand how the energy dancing through this area helps power the sun's million-degree upper atmosphere, the corona, as well as how this energy powers the solar wind constantly streaming off the sun to fill the entire solar system.

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