Hinode Spacecraft
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National Astoronomical Observatory of Japan

National Institute of Natural Sciences

Hinode Science Center
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)

Huge Sunspots and their Magnetic Structure observed by "Hinode"

In the latter half of October, huge sunspots were observed on the surface of the Sun. On Oct. 26, the total area of these sunspots became almost 66 times larger than the Earth's cross section. This was the largest sunspot area in this solar cycle, and the largest observed in the last 24 years (since Nov. 18, 1990). In the middle of November, these sunspots appeared again at the east limb, as the Sun's rotation brought them back into view.
The solar observing satellite "Hinode" captured the sunspots. We have released white light images and magnetic field maps on Oct. 24 and Nov. 15 with white light images by the Solar Observatory.
See this page.


Hinode CG

On orbit since 22 September 2006 (Y+3206 )

The Hinode (Solar-B) is a highly sophisticated observational satellite equipped with three advanced solar telescopes. It was launched on 22 September 2006 UT (23 September in Japan time). Its solar optical telescope (SOT) has an unprecedented 0.2 arcsec resolution for the observation of solar magnetic fields. It would resolve a feature with the size of 50cm, if it observed the Earth. The X-ray telescope (XRT) has a resolution of three times as high as Yohkoh, and the EUV imaging spectrometer (EIS) has sensitivity ten times as high as the ESA SOHO instrument. These X-ray and EUV telescopes would reveal the heating mechanism and dynamics of the active solar corona.

With this suite of telescopes, we can address the following key questions in solar physics : Why does a hot corona exist above the cool atmosphere? What drives explosive events such as solar flares? What creates the Sun's magnetic fields?

The Hinode Science Center at NAOJ plays a lead role in instrument design and development, mission operation and data analysis with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and promotes international collaboration with the US and European partners.

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Hinode Science Center/NAOJ