[Text Source: The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Project Home page, http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/mission/about.php
SDO: The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program, a program designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO is designed to help us understand ... the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.
SDO's goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.
SDO launched on February 11, 2010, 10:23 am EST on an Atlas V from SLC 41 from Cape Canaveral.
SDO will study how solar activity is created and how Space Weather comes from that activity. Measurements of the interior of the Sun, the Sun's magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the irradiance that creates the ionospheres of the planets are our primary data products.
Read more about SDO Science
SDO will fly three scientific experiments:
Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA)
EUV Variability Experiment (EVE)
Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI)
Each of these experiments perform several measurements that characterize how and why the Sun varies. These three instruments will observe the Sun simultaneously, performing the entire range of measurements necessary to understand the variations on the Sun.
Read more about SDO's instruments.