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Collaboration is fundamental to the scientific process. That is especially true in the field of astronomy where highly complex, specialized, and expensive telescopes/instruments are required for data acquisition. Since a single instrument cannot capture the full story of the Sun by itself, our comprehension of the Sun is built upon the coordination between multiple instruments.
Parker Solar Probe (PSP) is an exciting new addition to the suite of instruments that monitor our Sun. The spacecraft was launched in 2018 with the intent of plunging into the solar atmosphere in order to directly characterize the corona and solar wind. It accomplishes these goals by orbiting closer to the sun than any other man-made object has ever been before. On January 29th, PSP reached its closest point to the sun for this orbit (known as perihelion) and once again broke the record for both fastest man-made object and closest man-made object to the sun.
During PSP’s fourth orbit of the sun, Hinode participated in a coordinated observation campaign with PSP and the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS). While PSP traveled through the solar atmosphere, IRIS and Hinode pointed to locations on the Sun where models suggested that PSP would be collecting data from. The role of XRT in the collaboration was largely to contextualize the data being collected by PSP and inform on the X-ray conditions that could impact that data. In the above movie, you can see the various different positions XRT captured data from over the approximately 2 weeks that the collaboration took place over.
Keywords: Quiet Sun, Full Disk