Latest Hinode Stories
As you move away from the solar surface, into the sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, it actually gets a lot hotter before it cools off. The solar surface is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, while temperatures in the corona soar to millions of degrees.
The Sun is minimally active right now, but this quiet state of affairs won't last for long. Over the next few years, the number of solar flares and eruptions known as coronal mass ejections will increase until reaching solar maximum in 2011 or 2012.
Last week scientists converged on the Living With a Star workshop to share the latest research in solar physics. At one point, nearly 200 participants sat slack-jawed as they watched a new movie recorded by Japan's Hinode spacecraft showing a sunspot emerging from the depths of the sun.
A year after launch, scientists working with Hinode, a Japanese mission with ESA participation, are meeting at Trinity College, Dublin, to discuss latest findings on solar mysteries - including new insights on solar flares and coronal heating.
Astronomers are calling the Japanese Hinode spacecraft a "Hubble for the sun." Watch this movie and you'll see why. The footage, gathered by Hinode's Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) on Dec. 13, 2006, shows sunspot 930 unleashing a powerful X-class solar flare.
Astronomers have found that the atmosphere of the Sun plays a kind of heavenly music. The magnetic field in the outer regions (the corona) of our nearest star forms loops that carry waves and behave rather like a musical instrument.
Scientists have now made a major breakthrough in understanding this complexity by studying the 'skeleton' of the magnetic field.
Even though the sun is the closest star to Earth and has been studied for hundreds of years, it still holds surprises. The recently launched Hinode spacecraft is one of the latest observatories to probe the sun from afar.
Instruments aboard a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite named Hinode, or "Sunrise," are returning extraordinary new images of our sun. The international mission to study the forces that drive the violent, explosive power of the sun launched from Japan in September.
The Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) onboard Japan's Hinode spacecraft has opened its doors and started snapping pictures.
- A pivoted catch designed to fall into a notch on a ratchet wheel so as to allow movement in only one direction (e.g. on a windlass or in a clock mechanism), or alternatively to move the wheel in one direction.