Seeing the Sun by satellite

The Solar Maximum Mission satellite was launched in 1980, beginning observations that would continue off and on for nearly a decade. An NCAR-built coronagraph-polarimeter collected some 30,000 solar images, as often as once per minute, providing new data on magnetic fields on the Sun. Shown here, a false-color image of Comet Halley taken on 28 February 1986 as it heads back toward outer space. At this time, the comet was still near the Sun and hence invisible to observers on Earth.