National Astronomical Observatory of Japan



In Full Bloom but Unknown


In Full Bloom but UnknownSpherical Image - RICOH THETA

In spring, the cherry-blossom front (Note 1) moving northward through the Japanese archipelago paints NAOJ Mitaka Campus. The branches before us are covered to the tips with clusters of flowers. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom now. If you look around, you can see those flowers blooming in full glory. In the center of the blossoms, lays the Solar Flare Telescope. It gazes at the Sun in the spring sky which tends to grow hazy. The telescope stares at the Sun for a long time without getting bored. Not part of the tour courses, only a few people come to this place because this telescope is located a little ways off from the research buildings. This quiet cherry blossom garden is Mitaka Campus, the frontlines where active observation facilities turn towards the heavens.

Mitaka’s UNEXPLORED Solar Flare Telescope

In the northwest part of Mitaka Campus, NAOJ has installed devices such as the Solar Flare Telescope, Sunspot Telescope, and so on. Our astronomers are observing and researching there all the time. The Solar Flare Telescope, seen a little ways away in the image, uses infrared polarization, visible light rays, and hydrogen Hα lines to observe the distribution of magnetic fields and gas flows on the solar surface, changes in the sunspots, and flares. Astronomers are trying to clarify the long term solar activity.

Text by: Seiichiro Naito (Public Relations Center, NAOJ)
Translation by: Hiroko Tsuzuki and Ramsey Lundock (Public Relations Center, NAOJ)

(Note 1) The cherry-blossom “front” is a line drawn on maps of Japan each spring to indicate the approximate boundary between where Cherry trees have already bloomed and where they have not yet bloomed.Back

(Note 2) This area is not open to the public because this telescope is in operation. You can visit here on special occasions like “Mitaka Open House Day.” Because the Solar Flare Telescope is not within the tour course, please note that you cannot enter the area where this photo was taken.

Image Data

DateApril 6, 2016
PhotographerShogo Nagayama
CreditNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan

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