NASA scientists successfully launched a sophisticated X-ray solar imager on suborbital flight via a sounding rocket to gather new information on how and why the solar corona is getting so much hotter than the actual surface of the mother star of the earth.
Developers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama call the mission “MaGIXS” – Marshall Grazing Incidence X-ray Spectrometer. It was launched from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico at 2:20 p.m. local time on July 30.
The MaGIXS mission sent its payload, which included a high-power camera, a telescope and an X-ray spectrometer containing a matching pair of grazing incidence parabolic mirrors, to study the so-called “soft” X-rays at one wavelength. which has not been observed before in such detail.
“Our knowledge of the corona heating mechanisms is limited, in part because we have not yet been able to make detailed observations and measurements of the temperature distribution of solar plasma in the region,” said heliophysicist Marshall Amy Winebarger, principal investigator for MaGIXS. mission, in a press release.
The Sun’s surface temperature is above 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but the corona regularly measures over 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit.
MaGIXS will be the first imager to measure temperature distributions specific to different parts of an active solar region. This precision data will help scientists resolve the debate over how and how often the crown overheats.
Shedding new light on the mechanisms of crown heating could help researchers better understand and even predict potential solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which most often occur in connection with regional peaks in crown heating.
These violent explosions can interfere with communications satellites and electronic systems, even causing physical drag on the satellites as the Earth’s atmosphere expands to absorb added solar energy.
The MaGIXS sounding rocket mission also serves as a test bed for instrumentation for future NASA missions to further study solar flares, possibly linking their origins to measurable coronal activity and helping to demonstrate how advanced flight hardware and space systems can be hardened to withstand high energies. temper tantrums from the Earth star.
NASA regularly uses sounding rockets for such short, focused science missions. They are often smaller, more affordable, and faster to design and build than large-scale satellite missions, Winebarger said.
“They offer unique suborbital scientific opportunities, a chance to develop new innovative instruments and a rapid return on investment,” she added.
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