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Media Resources: NASA Telescope's Sharpest-Ever Images of Corona Catch Glimpse of Energy Source in the Solar Atmosphere
01.23.13
 
Hi Resolution Coronal Imager image of solar activity The Hi-resolution Coronal Imager full resolution image shown here is from the solar active region outlined in the AIA image (upper left). Several partial frame images are shown including a portion of a filament channel (upper center/right), the braided ensemble (left, second from top), an example of magnetic recognition and flaring (left, third from top), and fine stranded loops (left, bottom). These Hi-C images are at a resolution of 0.2" or 90 miles. This resolution is the equivalent of resolving a dime from 10 miles away. Image credit: NASA
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NASA's High Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C, telescope captured the highest-resolution images ever taken of the sun's million-degree atmosphere, the corona. These images provide intriguing hints of a mechanism that likely contributes to the heating of the solar corona. For decades scientists have sought to understand why the solar atmosphere is 50 to 100 times hotter than the surface of the sun. The solar atmosphere is widely believed to be the origin of energetic events called flares. Hi-C's image sequences show the evolution of the magnetic field and the repeated release of energy evident through the brightening of the plasma, indicative of heating to 2 million to 4 million degrees Fahrenheit.

› Media Advisory
› News Release
› Web Feature
› Hi-C Science Briefing Supplement

Speakers/Presenters
  • Jeff Newmark, Sounding Rocket Program Scientist, NASA Headquarters
  • Jonathan Cirtain, MSFC Heliophysics Team Lead and Hinode Project Scientist
  • Karel Schrijver, Senior Fellow at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Amy Winebarger, MSFC Heliophysics Sr. Astrophysicist
Supporting Materials and Links

› Talking Points, Jeff Newmark
› Talking Points, Jonathan Cirtain
› Talking Points, Karel Schrijver
› Talking Points, Amy Winebarger


Images and Multimedia in Support of Hi-C Briefing



Newmark Video 1

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The Sounding Rockets Program Office (SRPO), located at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, provides suborbital launch vehicles, payload development, and field operations support to NASA and other government agencies. SRPO works closely with the Sounding Rocket User Community to provide launch opportunities facilitating a broad spectrum of science applications. This video presents an overview of the NASA sounding rocket program and as well as footage of the final preparations and launch of the Hi-C. Credit: Wallops Flight Facility, Marshall Space Flight Center, and White Sands Missile Range

Cirtain Image 1

An average temperature-density structure of the quiet solar chromosphere, transition region and corona. The solid line is temperature and the dashed line is the density. Image credit: Curtosey Mariska 1992





Cirtain Image 2

The High resolution Coronal Imager is a 464 lbs and 3.2m long telescope with an advanced CCD camera. The major components of the instrument are listed in this engineering schematic. Image credit: NASA





Cirtain Video 1

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The High resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C) was launched on a NASA Black Brant IX two-stage rocket from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico July 11, 2012. The experiment reached a maximum velocity of Mach 7 and max altitude of 264 km. The experiment collected 345 seconds of EUV science images. Credit: NASA

› More about the Hi-C instrument

Cirtain Video 2

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The movie starts with the full sun AIA images taken during the Hi-C flight and zooms into the Hi-C field of full field of view. Comparisons of the Hi-C data, show in the panel on the right, are compared to data taken by AIA, shown on left. Hi-C is five times higher spatial resolution than AIA and the cadence of the Hi-C observations is 5 seconds. Credit: NASA

Cirtain Image 3

The High resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C) was launched on a NASA Black Brant IX two-stage rocket from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico July 11, 2012. The experiment reached a maximum velocity of Mach 7 and max altitude of 264 km. The experiment collected 345 seconds of EUV science images. Image credit: NASA
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Cirtain Video 3

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This braided loop has several loops near the 'base' that appear to be unwinding with significant apparent outflow. This is evidence of untwisting, and the braided structure also seeming to unwind with time. Credit: NASA

Schrijver Video 1

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The sun's hot outer atmosphere, as viewed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) onboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The movie shows one month of observations ending on the day of the Hi-C rocket flight, from June 11 through July 11, 2012. The images are taken in the extreme ultraviolet, invisible to the human eye, and observable only in the vacuum of space with special instruments. The false color images reveal the dynamics of the sun's atmosphere, shaped by magnetism and electricity, with large explosions over sunspot regions amid periods of more gradual evolution. Blue regions are coolest around one million degrees, while red regions are hottest above about three million degrees. The AIA instrument was built, and is being operated by, the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center under contract with NASA's Living With a Star Program. Credit: Karel Schrijver, AIA principal investigator

Schrijver Video 2

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The sun's hot outer atmosphere, as viewed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) onboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The movie shows one month of observations ending on the day of the Hi-C rocket flight, from June 11 through July 11, 2012. The images are taken in the extreme ultraviolet, invisible to the human eye, and observable only in the vacuum of space with special instruments. The false color images reveal the dynamics of the sun's atmosphere, shaped by magnetism and electricity, with large explosions over sunspot regions amid periods of more gradual evolution. Blue regions are coolest around one million degrees, while red regions are hottest above about three million degrees. The AIA instrument was built, and is being operated by, the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center under contract with NASA's Living With a Star Program. Credit: Karel Schrijver, AIA principal investigator

› More about Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS)

Winebarger Image 1

MSFC, Wallops Flight Facility, NASA/White Sands and partners accomplished the amazing of launching not just one, but TWO science payloads in six days, July 5 and July 11, 2012. The SUMI and Hi-C payloads are seen in the integration facility at White Sands simultaneously being prepared for environmental testing. MSFC completed SUMI while SAO, UCLan and Lebedev contributed to the launch preparation activities along with the MSFC team for Hi-C. (Image credit: NASA/MSFC)
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Winebarger Image 2

Team members pose with the H-C sounding rocket. Standing, starting from left: Charlie Cathell (NSROC-LJT), Eduardo Legman (NSROC-OSC), Nicholas Mitchell (UCLAN), Todd Holloway (MSFC), Howard Soohoo (MSFC), Ken Kobayashi (UAH), Guadalupe Archuleta (Northrop Grumman), Amy Winebarger (MSFC), Brent Beabout (MSFC), Dyana Beabout (MSFC), Bernita Justis(NSROC-LJT), Kelly Korreck (SAO), Robert Walsh (UCLAN), Paul Harmon (NSROC-OSC), Sergey Kuzin (Lebedev Institute), Gerald Christeson (NSROC-OSC), Tim Wilson (NSROC-OSC), On the riser: Simon Platt (UCLAN), Martin Castro (NAVY), Nicholas Cranor (NSROC-OSC), Jonathan Cirtain (MSFC), Leon Golub (SAO) Image credit: NASA/MSFC
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Winebarger Image 3

MSFC launched another sounding rocket from White Sands just 6 days before the Hi-C launch. The Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Investigation (SUMI) was designed to test technologies for the measurement of the solar atmospheric magnetic fields. Seen on recovery are Howard Soohoo (MSFC/NASA); Dr. Amy Winebarger (MSFC/NASA); Dr. Jonathan Cirtain (MSFC/NASA) and Larry Conser (Wallops Flight Facility/NASA). (Image credit: NASA/MSFC)
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Media Contact:
Janet Anderson, 256-544-0034
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
janet.l.anderson@nasa.gov