C r a i g  D e F o r e s t
Solar Physicist
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Two years ago, I started playing with a time-lapse movie I had made of the south pole of the Sun using SOHO instruments. It was only 104 frames, or about 6 seconds of half speed television, but it took months to make it, clean up the frames, and make sense of it, it's much easier to make a movie that looks good than it is to make a clean scientific movie that contains real information! I showed my little movie to lots of other scientists, and we got some interesting information out of it. But one day I tried something a little bit different, making a copy of the movie that showed the difference between frames, rather than the frames themselves. I found that we could see stuff moving in the difference movie that wasn't visible in the original. I ran to show the movie to some other scientists ("Hey, look what I found!"). Later that afternoon, I was pretty sure that we'd seen something new: very low pitch sound waves traveling through the solar corona!

That kind of moment is what scientists all dream of: to find something brand new hidden in the world around us. For a little while, I (and the people I told) knew something about the Sun that no one had ever known or seen before! That feeling of discovery is one of the best, most tensely exciting feelings I've ever had. It, or the hope of it, is what makes most of us scientists come back to work each day (and sometimes gets us up in the middle of the night to check a result or write something down!).

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