A lift-off that could change our vision of the solar system: from Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA has launched a twin pair of satellites that are set to provide us with three-dimensional views of the sun’s surface. The Stereo probes will orbit either side of the globe, acting like a pair of binoculars pointed at the sun. The in-depth vision will be particularly useful for monitoring solar storms, which can impact directly on the earth’s weather systems, and in extreme cases can send billions of tons of electrically charged particles into space, damaging communications satellites and electricity grids. But we will have to wait a little while yet to get back genuine pictures. It’s not until January 21 that the probes begin their observation orbit.