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HINODE (SOLAR-B)

Mission Profile

Name (pre-launch in parentheses) HINODE (SOLAR-B)
International Designation Code 2006-041A
Objectives Investigation of magnetic activity of the Sun including its generation, energy transfer and release of the magnetic energy. Major research topics are as follows:
  1. To understand the processes of magnetic field generation and transport including the magnetic modulation of the Sun’s luminosity.
  2. To investigate the processes responsible for energy transfer from the photosphere to the corona and that are responsible for the heating and structuring of the chromosphere and the corona.
  3. To determine the mechanisms responsible for eruptive phenomena, such as flares and coronal mass ejections, and understand these phenomena in the context of the space weather of the Sun-Earth System.
Launch Date 06:36, September 23, 2006 (JST)
Location Uchinoura Space Center (USC)
Launch Vehicle
Configuration Weight Approx. 900 kg
Dimensions Approx. 1.6m x 1.6m x 4m
10m long from end to end of solar array paddles



[Click image for enlargement]
Orbit Altitude Approx. 680 km
Inclination 98°
Type of Orbit Circular (Sun-synchronous polar)
Period 98 min
Scientific Instruments
  1. Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) with 50cm aperture
  2. X-ray telescope (XRT)
  3. Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS)
Operation Observations with the scientific instruments started after opening their protective doors in late October, 2006. Scientific operations are conducted from the ISAS facility located in Sagamihara, Japan, with participation of scientists from international instrument teams. Hinode is operated as a solar observatory on orbit and its observations are scheduled with Hinode core team programs and proposal programs including coordinated observations with ground-based observatories and space missions. The data from these observations are also freely available as soon as after their acquisition.

Hinode is a Japanese mission developed and launched by ISAS/JAXA, with NAOJ as domestic partner and NASA and STFC (UK) as international partners. It is operated by these agencies in co-operation with ESA and NSC (Norway).
Results All the three scientific instruments have been acquiring image data with supreme performances never realized so far, such as high (0.2-0.3 arcsec) spatial resolution and precise magnetic-field measurement of SOT, which are expected to advance many of the solar physics researches significantly. From observations made in initial observing phase, several numbers of discoveries have been made, such as Alfven waves in the corona, unexpected dynamics in the chromosphere and photosphere, continuous outflowing plasma as a possible source of solar wind, and fine structures of magnetic field in sunspots and solar surface. They all help us to understand physical mechanisms of phenomena occurring in the solar atmosphere. Scientific results were featured as Hinode special issue in the U.S. “Science”, Japanese “Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan”, and European “Astronomy & Astrophysics”.