China's Kuafu-1 satellite takes first photo of Sun showing November 11 flares

November 25, 2022  10:19

China's Kuafu-1 satellite, designed to study the Sun and space weather, has sent the first X-ray image of the Sun back to Earth. In the picture you can see the solar flares that happened on November 11.

The satellite used hard X-ray modulation (HXI) equipment to obtain this image, Xinhua news agency reported, citing data from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In this photo, Kuafu-1 captured the M-class flares.

sun-kuafu-1.jpg (128 KB)

According to the scientists of the mission, the device is still in the testing stage, but it can be noticed now as well that it has a very good visualization effect. In the resulting photos, scientists can identify the details of solar flares and the delicate structure of the Sun.

Kuafu-1 mission

Let us remind that on October 9, China successfully launched the Kuafu-1—weighing 888 kilograms—into the target orbit in a sun-synchronous orbit about 720 kilometers above Earth.

The device's official name is Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S), and Kuafu-1 is nicknamed after a giant from ancient Chinese mythology who chased the Sun and hoped to catch it.

Using three instruments, the device will spend at least four years studying the Sun's magnetic field, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections—the explosions of plasma that fly away at high speeds after breaking away from the Sun.

These studies are very important because both solar flares and coronal mass ejections can affect Earth. Powerful coronal mass ejections, for example, can cause geomagnetic storms that can disrupt power grids, radio communications, and GPS navigation.

The satellite is expected to operate 96% of the year and transmit data to ground stations in the Chinese cities of Sanya, Kashgar and Beijing, which in turn will transmit the data to an analysis center of the Zijinshan Astronomical Observatory of China.

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