Spacewatch: Nasa joins Japan's mission to study sun's atmosphere

Nasa has approved a large contribution to Japan’s Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope (EUVST) mission.

Led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the mission involves a solar telescope that will study the way the sun’s atmosphere detaches to become the solar wind. This is a constant sleet of particles that flows through the solar system creating “space weather” that sparks the polar lights on Earth, and disrupts technology. Along with other solar missions, such as the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter and Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe, EUVST will help provide a comprehensive investigation into space weather.

EUVST will study the sun in precise detail at ultraviolet wavelengths. Also known as Solar-C, it is targeted for launch in the mid-2020s. Japan’s previous solar mission, Hinode or Solar-B, was launched in 2006.

Nasa has also announced funding for its Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer (EZIE) mission. Led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, EZIE will study electrical currents in Earth’s atmosphere to understand more about how the aurora is created by the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth’s magnetic field. Comprising three small “CubeSats”, EZIE will launch sometime after June 2024.


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