October 17, 2019 | 3:07 PM IST
x-ray vision

NASA to launch rocket to view Sun with X-ray vision

In a recent update, NASA stated to launch a FOXSI (Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager) rocket mission to view Sun with X-ray vision. The rocket will be launched on September 7 take its third flight from New Mexico. FOXSI is termed as a sounding rocket mission, which will make brief 15-minutes journey above Earth’s atmosphere for a peek at space before landing back to the ground.
The mission will take a in-depth vision of the Sun, which otherwise looks calm and inert, though, beneath that placid facade are countless miniature explosions called nanoflares. Nanoflares are the tiny and highly intense explosions that take place across the sun’s surface. These explosions have resulted when the magnetic field lines of the sun’s atmosphere tangle up and stretch until they snap like a rubber band. The resultant energy released accelerates the particles to light speed and are responsible for heating up the solar atmosphere. The nanoflares are so minute, that they are invisible to the naked eye.
Lindsay Glesener, one of the principal investigators for the mission, stated that FOXSI is the first instrument built specially to image high-energy X-rays from the Sun by directly focusing them. FOXSI team designed the FOXSI lenses, which have smooth surfaces tilted at a small angle to congregate the incoming X-ray lights to a point of focus. The mission is launched with a new telescope designed for imaging lower energy termed as soft x-rays.

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