Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


X -Ray Telescope STIX Ready for Launch to the Sun


To observe the Sun at close range and measure its activity: with launch in February 2019, as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter spacecraft, STIX will study solar X-ray radiation in unprecedented detail. An international team with researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) has developed STIX and now completed it. The AIP is the only German institute involved in this instrument.

STIX (short for Spectrometer/Telescope for Imaging X-rays) is designed to measure X-ray radiation emitted from the hot corona, the outer solar atmosphere. X-ray radiation as an indicator for magnetic solar activity.

The imager of the telescope STIX and the detector box (black, in background).

Quelle: AIP/Hakan Önel

STIX consists of windows in the heat shield, the imager and the detector box. X-ray radiation passes through the windows in the heat shield, it is subsequently filtered by the imager unit and finally detected by the detector box – in order to obtain images of the hottest regions of solar eruptions with temperatures of up to 40 million degrees Celsius.

AIP developed the fundamental imager design, machined actual flight parts, and supported the assembly and integration of the instrument. Furthermore, AIP accompanied the test campaign aimed to verify that the instrument can withstand strong vibration levels and large temperature fluctuations. It took about eight years to complete the STIX imager.

The German Space Agency (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) funded AIP with 1.8 million Euros for this project. Now, the international instrument team led by the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) has delivered STIX to Airbus Defence and Space (UK), where all instruments will be integrated into the Solar Orbiter spacecraft. Solar Orbiter is equipped with ten instruments to investigate the Sun and its environment.

Scientists hope to find answers to some of the Sun’s yet unanswered questions with STIX data. They will study how solar flares are generated and how they affect the interplanetary space, the Earth’s environment and our technical civilisation.

During Solar Orbiter’s ten year mission it will closely approach the Sun to about one quarter of the distance between Sun and Earth. It will even leave the ecliptic plane allowing for observations of the solar poles. Solar Orbiter will collect unprecedented data from perspectives never seen before.

STIX website:

Science contacts:
apl. Prof. Dr. Gottfried Mann (Projektleiter), +49 331-7499 292,
Dr. Hakan Önel, +49 331-7499 261,

Media contact:
Katrin Albaum, +49 331-7499 803,

Weitere Informationen:

Dr. Janine Fohlmeister | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm
23.03.2018 | Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics

nachricht Drug or duplicate?
23.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>