Solar Observation Satellite Hinode (SOLAR-B)

Major Achievements by Solar Observation Satellites
1980
SMM ?Solar Maximum Mission?

Country of Origin: United States
Mission Objective: To study solar flares and radiation


Major Results

SMM measured solar coronal mass ejections
(courtesy of the High Altitude Observatory)


1981
Hinotori (ASTRO-A)

Country of Origin: Japan (Japan's first solar observation satellite)
Mission Objective: To study solar flares using hard X-rays


Major Results

Hinotori located a hard X-ray source in a solar flare for the first time.


Hard X-ray sources of a solar flare (contour) overlaid on an image taken by the Purple Mountain Observatory in China.


1991
Yohkoh (SOLAR-A)

Country of Origin: Japan
Mission Objective: To observe solar flares and the solar corona. First satellite to track almost an entire 11-year solar activity cycle.


Major Results

Image of the dynamic corona. First-ever detailed observation of coronal loops.
Video

Composite image of a solar activity cycle. The foreground shows high sunspot activity, known as solar maximum (solar max), and the background shows low sunspot activity, known as solar minimum.



Yohkoh discovered a cusp-shaped flare loop. This is further evidence of the magnetic-reconnection model in solar flares, which holds that solar flares are caused by the process whereby the antiparallel coronal magnetic field lines are broken and then reconnected.


High energy emissions were detected from the loop top. This great discovery indicates that energy release is occurring above the loops.


1995
SOHO ?Solar and Heliospheric Observation?

Country of Origin: Europe, United States
Mission Objective: To study the space between the solar surface and the corona, including magnetic fields in the photosphere, solar flares and coronal mass ejections. The observatory is continuing its mission, contributing to space weather forecasting.


Major Results

An image of the dynamic Sun with a prominence blowing into interstellar space hundreds of thousand kilometers away from the solar surface. (courtesy of NASA/ESA)


A sunspot area about 13 times bigger than the surface of the Earth. (courtesy of NASA/ESA)


A coronal mass ejection as the result of a solar flare. The white circle in the middle indicates the Sun's location. (courtesy of NASA/ESA)


1998
TRACE ?Transient Region and Coronal Explorer?

Country of Origin: United States
Mission Objective: To carry out detailed observation of the Sun, including its photosphere, chromosphere (the outer layer of the photosphere) and corona. Currently in operation.


Major Results

An image of coronal loops - huge arch-shaped currents of electrified gas influenced by magnetic field lines. (courtesy of NASA)

The Sun ejecting gas. (courtesy of NASA)


2002
RHESSI?Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager?

Country of Origin: United States
Mission Objective: To study high energy X-rays and gamma rays released from solar flares. Currently in operation.


Major Results

RHESSI detected very high-energy gamma rays produced during solar flares (circled in red). (courtesy of Lin, R.P., et al. 2003, ApJ, 595, L69)


International Collaboration to Study the Nature of Solar Activity
2.Hinode's High-Performance Telescopes / Takashi Sakurai | Kazunari Shibata | Theodore D. Tarbell
3.Major Achievements by Solar Observation Satellites