Sunrise Telescope Research Flight 2009 from Kiruna, Sweden - Multimedia Gallery


Multimedia Gallery 2009



On June 8, 2009, at 8:05 a.m., the Sunrise telescope began its maiden research flight from Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden. For more, see this Staff Notes report >


About this 2009 gallery: The Sunrise balloon was successfully launched from Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden. The Sunrise balloon, big enough to fit a Boeing 747 jet inside, carried a gondola containing a 1-meter solar telescope—the largest balloon-borne telescope ever—as well as other instruments on a mission to investigate the structure and dynamics of the Sun’s magnetic fields.

All images must be credited to UCAR and may be reproduced in news stories about NCAR & UCAR activities.

For more information, please contact David Hosansky, 303-497-8611

On this page: 2 videos | 6 photos




A. Sunrise Telescope - Animation of Balloon Flight
This 2009 animation depicts the Sunrise balloon and gondola, with 1-meter solar telescope aboard, flying on a full-scale research flight. It includes paths of the Arctic flight in 2009 and proposed Antarctic flight in 2011, illustrations of high-resolution solar images that the telescope is designed to obtain, and the gondola's descent with a parachute. (©UCAR, animation by Steven Deyo.)


B. Sunrise Telescope - Video of Balloon Launch from Kiruna, Sweden
This video shows the successful launch of the Sunrise solar telescope by high-altitude balloon from Kiruna, Sweden on June 8, 2009. Sunrise is an international collaboration to view the Sun in unprecedented detail for scientific research. (©UCAR, video by Carlye Calvin.)



Men loading scientific equipment, including solar panels, unto truck
C. Sunrise telescope leaves the hangar
The Sunrise telescope, mounted aboard its gondola, stops just outside the hangar so engineers can attach its solar panels, which are too large to fit through the hangar doors. [ENLARGE] (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. Media & nonprofit use*)
Scientific equipment, including solar panels, on a truck
D. Sunrise gondola, fully assembled and 23 feet high
The aluminum and steel gondola cradling the Sunrise telescope hangs from its giant launch crane. The Sunrise payload stands about 23 feet high and weighs about 4,700 pounds. [ENLARGE] (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. Media and nonprofit use*)
Truck with crane carrying scientific eauipment
E. Hercules vehicle delivers Sunrise to launch site
The giant launch vehicle, dubbed "Hercules," maneuvers the Sunrise gondola into position before engineers attach its balloon for flight and parachute for landing. [ENLARGE] (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.  Media and nonprofit use*)
Truck with crane carrying scientific eauipment
F. Attaching the balloon and descent parachute
Engineers attach the Sunrise payload to its balloon and parachute. The giant crane will hold the gondola plus telescope payload steady until the balloon inflates and rises to an altitude sufficient to lift the payload from the crane. [ENLARGE] (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. Media and nonprofit use*)
Very large white balloon being filled with helium
G. Filling the giant helium balloon
Slender hoses partially fill the balloon with helium before launch. A large portion of the balloon is left unfilled so it can expand as it ascends into the stratosphere, where air pressure is considerably lower. The balloon reaches about 360 feet in diameter when fully inflated in flight, with a volume of 29 million cubic feet—larger than a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. [ENLARGE] (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. Media and nonprofit use*)
Large, white balloon, carrying equipment is launched
H. Sunrise telescope takes off
At 8:05 a.m. local time on June 8, 2009, the Sunrise telescope was successfully launched from Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden. After its launch the giant helium balloon drifted west over the Norwegian coast, recording high-resolution images of the Sun's outer surface with its powerful telescope. It landed 68 nautical miles south of Resolute Bay on Somerset Island, Canada five days later. The images are providing a wealth of data for scientists studying the structure and dynamics of the solar magnetic field. Sunrise is scheduled to make a flight above Antarctica in 2011. [ENLARGE] (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. Media and nonprofit use*)