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The Forefront of Space Science

Advancement of Solar Research by HINODE Satellite
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Since solar activity had been weak since the launch of HINODE, its results have been mainly on quiet regions of the Sun rather than flares. However, as solar activity increases, the number of flares rises too along with HINODEís observation of them. It also facilitates the accumulation of expertise, for example, showing what kind of observations deliver scientifically significant results. Over the next three years when flares are expected, by performing the observations based on the accumulated expertise, great progress is expected in understanding of flares including the trigger mechanism mentioned above. Meanwhile, precise magnetic-field observation in the sunís polar regions provides us with never-before-seen fundamental data. Further, with continuous observation, we can understand how magnetic-field reversal will progress in the polar regions. This will be vital to understanding the mechanisms of the solar activity cycle in the future.

HINODE is now in its first extended operation period, which is three years beginning from 2011. The proposed three-year extension from the next fiscal year is now under review at the Space Science Committee of ISAS, JAXA. Further observation over several years will provide many new findings including long-term activity trends of the sun and its flares. In parallel, the next solar observation satellite project, SOLAR-C, based on HINODEís results, is also now being planned.

I would like to add one last comment. HINODE is bringing considerable scientific results (e.g., peer-reviewed papers are being published at a rate of one per three days). In addition to the science field, HINODE is also contributing to public relations and outreach by providing a number of images and data such as visible and X-ray images of solar eclipses. Many people saw the clear SOT image (Fig. 3) catching a transit of venus across the Sun, which was observed from Japan in June, 2012. The next transit of Venus will take place in 2117. Our image may be the one published 100 years later entitled ďthe picture of the last transit of Venus across the sun.ĀEHow will people in the future view this picture? With the wish that HINODEís results will have a great impact on both the research/academic community and the general public 100 years later, I hope to continue HINODEís operation and observation.

Figure 3
Figure 3. HINODEís SOT image of the transit of Venus across the Sun on June 6, 2012 (JST).


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