Subject line: study of the Sun and its phenomena

Responsibility of the mission: NASA

Date of launch: October 26th, 2006

End of mission: ongoing



STEREO (Solar Reports Observatory TErrestrial) is the third mission of the NASA Solar Probe Terrestrial (STP) programme, aimed at studying the Sun. The mission – launched in 2006 from the 17B launch base at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida – consists of two twin probes – Solar A and Solar B – which observe the Sun from two very distant probes, obtaining stereoscopic images of our star and its phenomena, such as the coronal mass ejections and the solar wind. Both probes were launched to orbit around the Sun, practically at the same distance between Earth and the Sun, and were placed respectively in front and behind our star. During their journey, they tracked and are still tracking the flow of energy and matter from the Sun to our planet.


Scientific goals

The STEREO mission aims at investigating the origin, evolution and structure of coronal mass ejections, by taking stereoscopic pictures of the Sun. Thanks to the images released by STEREO, scientists are studying the structure of coronal mass ejections, violent eruptions of material from the Sun’s corona that can lead to power outages and severe magnetic storms when they collide with Earth’s magnetic sphere.

The big geomagnetic storms directed towards Earth can damage, and even destroy, satellites and are extremely dangerous for astronauts when they carry out extra-vehicular activities (EVA) and, therefore, are outside the shield of the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

Furthermore, STEREO provides images and data which are useful to study the evolution of the solar wind, which is important to understand more in depth the nature of the Sun, from the nucleus to the limits of the heliosphere, and the influence it has on the whole Solar System.

‣ News


The Prisma Mission opens to the community ‣

Now that the commissioning phase and the calibration/validation activities have been completed PRISMA is finally ready to open the mission exploitation by the user community. MORE...


The Earth’s tides move the continents ‣

Astronomical forces such as solid Earth’s tides play an active role on plate tectonics: this is the results of a research conducted by the Sapienza University of Rome, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). MORE...


Cheops is ready for hunting ‣

The scientific operations of the space mission Cheops officially started. The mission, with an important Italian participation, explores the Universe to give us an in-depth look at new worlds MORE...


IKUNS NanoSatellite, a virtuous example of the Italo-Kenyan Cooperation in the Space sector ‣

The project was presented on August 24th 2019, during an event dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci MORE...


Parmitano starts Nutriss ‣

Nutriss will be the first scientific activity of ASI in orbit for Luca Parmitano, astronaut of the European Space Agency on the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the third of six Italian experiments is ready to take off. MORE...