This image of the Sun was taken Oct. 28 by the X-Ray Telescope (XRT) on the Hinode spacecraft observatory, intended to investigate solar magnetic variability and space weather. The image reveals, for the first time, that x-ray bright points on the Sun are composed of magnetic loops. It also reveals details of structure in the polar region of the Sun. One of three instruments on board Hinode, the XRT provides both full-disk and partial-field-of-view images of the corona across a range of temperatures.
The Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS), another Hinode instrument, is based on an off-axis paraboloid telescope design with focal length of 1.9 m and mirror diameter of 150 mm. A third instrument, the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT), has a 50 cm aperture covering a wavelength range of 480 to 650 nm. Image sensors on Hinode, provided by e2v (Essex, England), range from large-area, back-illuminated CCDs on XRT and EIS to a suite of three highly differentiated custom sensors on SOT intended to examine the interaction between the Sun’s magnetic field and its corona at the smallest scales to date. See JAXA at http://www.jaxa.jp/index_e.html.