Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) Spacecraft
Active regions observed August 19, 1998
Solar Flare Movie
Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) Spacecraft

Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) Spacecraft

Courtesy of NASA

TRACE was a small explorer project sent to observe the Sun and study the connection between its magnetic fields and the heating of the Sun's corona. It worked in conjunction with SoHO. It is hoped that this investigation will deepen our understanding of the effects of the Sun's magnetic field on its own atmosphere and to help us understand the changes that this causes in the heliosphere between the Sun and Earth, and in the space around Earth, including our own atmosphere.

April 1, 1998

April 7, 1998 (first transmission)

End of Mission
June 21, 2010 (last image)

Explore the three-dimensional magnetic structures which emerge through the visible surface of the Sun—the photosphere—and define both the geometry and dynamics of the upper-solar atmosphere, the transition region and corona.

TRACE collected movies and images of the Sun’s surface from 1998 through 2010. In a movie example of the solar limb (edge), one-million-degree plasma flows in loops long enough to wrap around the Earth four times. The loops extend several thousand kilometers deeper through the Sun’s chromosphere before they reach the surface where they are anchored to regions of strong magnetic field called sunspots.