The remarkable close-up images of the sun might yield valuable information on the star’s activity. Hinode’s primary goal is to research solar flares, colossal explosions that occur in the Sun’s atmosphere.
The new images present
the behavior of sunspots, slightly cooler areas on the sun’s surface and marked by intense magnetic activity. One shot depicts a huge eruption over a sunspot. “We knew [Hinode could] observe the Sun clearer than any other ‘scopes, however I never thought that we could see such high-resolution images,” said Dr Yoshinori Suematsu, from the Hinode project office at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). “So I am very amazed; I am very much looking forward to analyzing individual magnetic fields on the Sun’s surface which had never been available to see.”
Hinode makes continuous, simultaneous observations in the extreme-ultraviolet, X-ray and optical portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Scientists want to see precisely how a sun flare is produced through the layers of the solar atmosphere by changes in the magnetic field at the Sun’s surface. Solar flares can hurl particles and radiation at the Earth, disrupting communications and posing a hazard to astronauts. Researchers want to understand especially the key trigger mechanisms involved. “We could successfully collect data about individual magnetic fields which could provide a clue to solve the mystery of eruption and temperature gaps,” said Dr Suematsu.
An entire fleet of spacecraft is now dedicated to understanding the relationship between the Sun and the Earth. Last month, NASA launched Stereo mission that will make 3D observations of our star to investigate coronal mass ejections, a related phenomenon to solar flares that also influence the “space weather” around the Earth.
Ringraziamo il signor Alan Friedman per queste immagini spettacolari.
In astronomia, un brillamento solare o più esattamente brillamento stellare (in breve brillamento) o anche eruzione solare, eruzione stellare, è una violenta eruzione di materia che esplode dalla fotosfera di una stella, con un’energia equivalente a varie decine di milioni di bombe atomiche.(continua)