Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hinode to Support Ground-based Eclipse Observations

14.11.2012
On Nov. 13, 2012, certain parts of Earth will experience a total solar eclipse, which, like all eclipses, will only be visible when you are aligned in a straight line with the moon and the sun.

In this case the eclipse will only be seen from a narrow corridor in the southern hemisphere that is mostly over the ocean but also cuts across the northern tip of Australia.


To support ground observations of the solar eclipse on Nov. 13, 2012, Hinode will capture images of the full sun from space for comparison, much like this one captured on March 16, 2012 with its X-Ray Telescope. Credit: Hinode, JAXA/NASA

The JAXA/NASA Hinode mission will experience a partial eclipse of the sun near the same time as the observers in Australia. Hinode will coordinate its observations with those from the ground, before, during, and after the eclipse to produce a combined, scientifically interesting dataset.

Watching a solar eclipse – using appropriate instruments to protect the eyes since you should never look at the sun directly – is a crucial way of seeing the dim structures around the edges of the sun normally obscured by the brightness of the sun itself. Indeed it was during eclipses that scientists first observed the sun's atmosphere, the corona, which extends beyond the more easily seen surface, known as the photosphere.

In modern times, we know that the corona is constantly on the move. Made of electrified gas, called plasma, the solar material dances in response to huge magnetic fields on the sun. Structural changes in these magnetic fields can also give rise to giant explosions of radiation called solar flares, or expulsions of solar material called coronal mass ejections, CMEs – which make the corona a particularly interesting area to study.

"There are certain aspects of the corona that you can only see during an eclipse," says Jonathan Cirtain, the project scientist for Hinode at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "We'll change where Hinode points during the eclipse to support the different regions being observed from the ground."

Several groups will be doing observations from Australia. Although we have learned to make artificial eclipses using modern telescopes, owing to the distance of the moon, these natural eclipses are actually substantially beyond what we can do in terms of suppressing the light from the disk of the sun. This allows us to do unique science observations during these brief periods. A group from University of Hawaii will measure the intensities of various types of ionized iron atoms (atoms that have lost electrons) by measuring the radiation emitted at different stages of ionization. Since the iron atoms lose more electrons as the temperature increases (increasing the ionization stage), mapping such radiation can help scientists observe the temperature distribution throughout higher levels of the sun's atmosphere than can usually be seen.

A second group is led by NASA-Marshall and will observe a solar phenomenon known as plumes. Plumes are large structures that extend far out into the sun's corona and never turn back around to hit the sun again (as some other solar structures do.) These are typically seen in areas where the sun is more quiet, and again are hard to spot next to the brightness of the sun itself. Plumes are constrained to follow the very magnetic fields of the sun itself, so they can be a tool for mapping the sun's complex magnetic system, which, in turn, is thought to be the driving force for most events on the sun.

"Hinode will provide context images," says Cirtain. "It can see both the corona and the disk of the sun, and the hope is to be able to correlate the emission seen by eclipse observations on the ground to where its coming from on the sun itself."

Since the view of the eclipse from Australia only lasts for two minutes, the Hinode team has had to organize how to quickly capture the context images desired. But, together with the ground observations, those two minutes can help provide observations that are only rarely possible. The next solar eclipse will be a partial solar eclipse, visible again from Australia, on May 10, 2013. The next eclipse visible from parts of the Northern Hemisphere will be Nov. 3, 2013.

Karen C. Fox
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Karen C. Fox | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hinode/news/eclipse-20121113.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions
18.12.2018 | Eindhoven University of Technology

nachricht NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate
18.12.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: New megalibrary approach proves useful for the rapid discovery of new materials

Northwestern discovery tool is thousands of times faster than conventional screening methods

Different eras of civilization are defined by the discovery of new materials, as new materials drive new capabilities. And yet, identifying the best material...

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New megalibrary approach proves useful for the rapid discovery of new materials

19.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

Artificial intelligence meets materials science

19.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

Gut microbiome regulates the intestinal immune system, researchers find

19.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>