Monday, October 10, 2022

China Launches Solar Observatory ASO-S to Unravel the Sun's Secrets

China Launches New Solar Observatory ASO-S to Unravel the Sun's Secrets

A Long March-2D rocket launched the Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S), nicknamed, Kuafu-1, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province, China, on October 8, 2022, at 23:43 UTC (9 October, at 07:43 local time). It has successfully entered its planned orbit. The Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S) will “conduct observations on the solar magnetic field, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, to support the forecasting of catastrophic space weather.”

The probe, nicknamed Kuafu-1, will operate in an orbit 720 kilometers from Earth, permanently facing the sun. It has been described by its principal scientist, Gan Weiqun, as the world's first near-Earth satellite telescope to simultaneously monitor solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and the sun's magnetic field. It can directly "look" at the sun, observing the sun by means of telemetry and remote sensing, and thus image it, Gan explained. It complements NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched in 2018. Parker is located very close to the sun and cannot perform direct imaging.

In 2021, China also launched an experimental solar satellite called Xihe. It operates in a sun-synchronous orbit at an average altitude of 517 kilometers with a solar Hα (H-alpha) imaging spectrometer as its main scientific payload.

All of the probe data will be freely available to scientists around the world after the ASO-S is commissioned, according to principal scientist, Gan Weiqun.

Credit:  GLOBALink 

Duration: 1 minute

Release Date: October 9, 2022

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