Since its very launch in September 22, 2006, hinode, which is an international space mission between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the USA and the UK, has been observing the Sun uninterrupted. Doing so, it has provided valuable information about our sun and other stars in the universe. To perform a variety of studies on the sun, hinode is equipped with three main instruments, including a solar optical telescope (SOT), an X-ray telescope (XRT) and an Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS).

The sun

The sun is the main source of energy in the solar system and it is made of hot plasma.

Convective motion in the interior of the sun generates a magnetic field through a dynamo process that produces electric currents. It has a diameter of more than a hundred times that of earth and a mass of approximately 330,000 times that of earth. Three quarters of this mass is hydrogen, the remaining is helium and traces of heavier elements. Scientists believe that the sun can serve as the best physics laboratory in the solar system.

Hinode´s highlights

Hinode has helped scientists observe solar explosions, solar spicules (dynamic jets), the sun´s chromosphere, active regions of the sun´s magnetic field, solar filaments, sunspots and solar flares and convection cells. HInode has also captured Venus’s atmosphere as it transits the sun and the moon during an annular eclipse.The three major instruments with which Hinode has been equipped have helpedstudy in detail the processes that occur at the sun during solar activity.

Hinode´s Mission

Hinode´s objectives include the understanding of the way in which the energy that is produced by the sun´s magnetic fields is transported to the solar upper atmosphere; to understand the way in which that energy effects the dynamics and the structure of the corona and to determine how all these processes-energy transfer and atmospheric activities influences the interplanetary space environment.

The sun has been studied for almost one hundred years, and though scientists know much about it, they still don´t know much about the way in which energy is transmitted inside. Scientists are trying to understand the way in which one of the most important forms of stored energy that in the magnetic fields is released and the way in which this energy finds its way into the sun´s corona.