CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (July 25, 2013)--NASA's IRIS spacecraft, launched just a month ago, is already providing detailed pictures of the sun.
The telescope's door opened last week, as it began observing the lower solar atmospheres in never-before-seen detail.
The early results were announced Thursday and the research team called them exciting.
NASA's science mission directorate chief, former astronaut John Grunsfeld, called it "a grand opening of a new era in solar physics."
IRIS, short for Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, will continue its mission for the next two years.
Scientists say the observations will help shed light on the sun's impact on Earth.