Since its launch on Sept. 22, 2006, Hinode, a joint mission of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NASA, has been watching the sun nearly non-stop, providing valuable insight into our star – and others throughout the universe.
“The sun is terrifying and gorgeous, and it’s also the best physics laboratory in our solar system,” said Sabrina Savage, project scientist for Hinode at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “In the past 10 years, Hinode has focused on understanding our sun as a variable star.”
Hinode has captured everything from solar explosions to the delicate motion of solar spicules, allowing scientists to study these phenomena in great detail. As most of Hinode’s instruments are still in good working order, the team behind Hinode hopes to delve even deeper into our nearest star.
“We recently adjusted mission operations to track a single target for several days, instead of jumping around among active regions,” said Savage. “This new paradigm will allow us to get a more complete picture of active region evolution.”
To celebrate Hinode’s first 10 years in orbit, here are 10 highlights from Hinode’s scientific accomplishments of the past decade.