National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Celebrating the Halfway Mark with Hinode Solar Observatory


Launched on the 2006 autumnal equinox, Hinode continues to this day to observe the Sun with unprecedented high resolution and high accuracy. Hinode Solar Observatory in orbit has already carefully observed various phenomena, on both small and large scales, occurring in the high temperature plasma in the outer atmosphere. These phenomena are violent even during calm periods, and could be called the “breath” of the Sun. While watching this digest version of the records spanning these 10 years, please think of the parental love which guided Hinode to maturity so that it is now able to handle high-quality data.

The Living Sun

It is thought that the source of solar activity is in the Sun’s magnetic field. Magnetic fields emerging from under the photosphere form sunspots and active regions, which are strengthened by convection in the solar granulation, and act as the energy source that heats the temperature inverted outer-atmosphere known as the chromosphere ~ transition region ~ corona. Related to the magnetic field, the mechanisms by which plasma in solar spicules, jets, and prominences is accelerated and heated through fine flux tubes and the mechanisms by which great amounts of energy are released suddenly on a large scale through solar flares or CME (Coronal Mass Ejections), have yet to be clarified. But through Hinode’s observations, the extremely fine scale behavior of the magnetic structures thought to be the origin of solar magnetic activity is gradually being elucidated. Also in the videos of solar eclipses and the inner planet Venus transiting across the solar disk, you can see the high performance of the telescopes installed onboard “Hinode.” The solar activity cycle, illustrated by the appearance and disappearance of sunspots, is an approximately 22 year cycle when the magnetic polarity reversal is included, so Hinode’s observations are still only halfway down the road. By watching the next activity cycle with the same “eyes” and same resolution, we hope to be able to say “Hinode has come of age.”

Text by: Tetsuya Watanabe (Director of the Hinode Science Center)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)

Video data

InstrumentsSolar optical telescope (SOT), X-ray telescope (XRT), and EUV imaging spectrometer (EIS) onboard HINODE Solar Observatory
Wavelengths SOT (FG) approx. 380 ~ 700 nm, (SP) FeI 630.15/630.25 nm; XRT: 0.6 ~ 20 nm; EIS: (SW) 17.1 ~ 21.1 nm, (LW) 24.5 ~ 29.1 nm
CreditNAOJ, ISAS, JAXA, and others

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