The Sun from Hinode
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The Sun from Hinode

December 24, 2006

This image of the sun was taken Oct. 28 by Hinode's X-Ray Telescope. One of three instruments on board Hinode, The X-Ray Telescope is designed to capture images of the sun's outer atmosphere, the corona. The corona is the spawning ground for explosive activity on the sun, such as coronal mass ejections. Powered by the sun's magnetic field, this violent activity produces significant effects in the space between the sun and Earth.

This image reveals, for the first time, that X-ray bright points are composed of magnetic loops. It also reveals details of structure in the polar region of the sun, along with active-region loops. The X-Ray Telescope is imaging the corona in a way that has been possible only since approximately 1960. Previously, the sun's corona was viewable in white light only during solar eclipses.

By combining observations from Hinode's optical and X-ray telescopes, scientists will be able to study how changes in the sun's magnetic field trigger these powerful events.

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