XRT Picture of the Week (XPOW)

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2014 December 02

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First Light

On October 15, 1963 the first x-ray image of the sun was taken using a special kind of telescope called the Wolter type I grazing incident telescope. The first solar image taken with this optic was of extremely poor quality, far worse than previous images obtained using a pinhole camera. But, as with most technology, the telescopes and images improved over time and as they improved so did our knowledge of the sun. XRT uses the same Wolter type I grazing incident optical design and above is our first image taken on October 23, 2006, almost 43 years after the first image ever.

X-ray observations have become an important tool for the early detection of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Many of the telescopes used to monitor x-ray emissions are based off of this Wolter type I configuration.

To find out more about the early days of x-ray solar observations visit the NASA history page at history.nasa.gov/SP-402/ch6.htm. In this article, you can read about the prominence dubbed, Puff the Magic Dragon. Discover the tale about the Boot of Italy Coronal Hole and see if you can find out what causes the dreaded orbital snowstorm. Of course, the best observation presented is the psychedelic solar eclipse.

Keywords: First Light, Full Disk
Filters: Al_poly

(Prepared by Patricia Jibben)

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