HEA Research: Sun

Solar and Stellar X-Ray Group (SSXG) researchers study solar and stellar atmospheres which are composed of extremely hot, highly dynamic plasma. SSXG activities include designing, testing, building and operating instruments, analyzing space and ground-based observations, and creating theoretical models. SSXG researchers are major partners in the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) investigation on the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is set to launch in 2008. SSXG researchers also built the X-Ray Telescope aboard Hinode, which launched in September 2006, the telescope for the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE), which launched in 1998, as well as several rockets.

Project Links


Gemma Attrill, Jay Bookbinder, Alisdair Davey,Alexander Engell, Samaiyah Farid, Edward DeLuca, Paolo Grigis, Leon Golub, Justin Kasper, Kelly Korreck, Petrus Martens, Suli Ma, Kathy Reeves, Steve Saar, Antonia Savcheva, Jonathan Slavin, Peter Smith, Yingna Su, Paola Testa, Mark Weber, Henry (Trae) Winter, Meredith Wills-Davey, Anthony Yeates, Hui Tian

More information and pictures of the group can be found here.


The Solar & Stellar X-Ray Group (SSXG) was founded in 1975 by Dr. Giuseppe (Pippo) Vaiana to continue the research effort he began at American Science and Engineering (AS&E) that led to the first high resolution X-ray images of the Sun from sounding rockets and later from the S-054 telescope on Skylab. In 1978, with the launch of the Einstein Observatory, the theme of a Solar-Stellar Connection was developed. Beginning in 1988, a series of sounding rocket flights led to the development of the multilayer method for high resolution x-ray imaging using the NIXT payload. This program led to the TRACE satellite in 1998, and more recently to the XRT on Hinode and to the AIA on SDO (see above for more details and links). The SSXG is part of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Image Image

Caption: Two full disk images taken by the X-Ray Telescope aboard Hinode are taken one solar rotation apart. In the center of the left hand image are NOAA active regions 10931 and 10932. A rotation later the active regions have disappeared, but their effect is still noticeable in the long quiet sun loops. Yohkoh experts can comment on whether this was commonly seen by SXT. This type of evolution was seen in Skylab, though not this clearly (1982; ApJ 259, 359-365).


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