The sun-observing Hinode satellite celebrates 10 years in space.
Since its launch on September 22, 2006, Hinode, a joint mission of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NASA, has been watching the sun nearly non-stop, providing valuable insight into our star—and others throughout the universe. The one-ton satellite travels in a sun-synchronous orbit around Earth about 370 miles above the surface. Hinode, meaning "sunrise," is equipped with an extreme ultraviolet instrument as well as optical and X-ray telescopes researchers use to measure changes in the sun’s magnetic field and observe its million-degree outer atmosphere called the corona. In its 10 years of operation, the satellite has captured everything from solar explosions to the delicate motion of solar spicules, allowing scientists to study these phenomena in great detail. Explore the images to learn more.