The Sun has a large influence on all of the human beings living on the Earth. Humans have observed the Sun since prehistoric times. However, it still holds many more mysteries. “Hinode” has solved mysteries of the Sun using three advanced telescopes. Please read about Hinode's challenges and scientific outputs.
The solar observing satellite “Hinode” was launched from Uchinoura Space Center on September 23, 2006 (JST). Like the highly successful “Yohkoh” satellite, “Hinode” was developed through international collaboration among primarily Japan, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. Japan made the satellite bus system, the main part of the optical telescope, and the X-ray telescope camera. To start with, please read the outline of the “Hinode” project that has achieved various success in the 10 years since its launch.
“Hinode” has three telescopes to observe the Sun. The cylindrical main body of the satellite is the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) which observes in visible light. The cylinder attached beneath the main body is the X-Ray Telescope (XRT). The Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS) is mounted to the upper surface of the main body. These innovative telescopes can capture the movement of the complex solar magnetic fields and the three-dimensional motions of the plasma in real time. These abilities make Hinode an epoch-making solar observation satellite.
“Hinode” observes the Sun at an orbital altitude of 680 km above the Earth's surface.By observing from outer space, astronomers can see various features of the Sun that cannot be seen from the ground. Detailed observations with the three telescopes continue to yield various research results. In particular, they found hints to solve the Sun's biggest mystery, the "coronal heating problem," and greatly advanced solar research. Solar observations are important for studying global climate change, one of the topics that are currently gaining attention.
Here we answer frequently asked questions. Please take this opportunity to learn more about “Hinode” and the Sun.