Fengyun 3E weather satellite captures first images of the sun

An extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken by China’s Fengyun 3E weather satellite. CHINA DAILY

Images will help forecasters predict communication disruption on Earth

The Fengyun 3E weather satellite has captured its first test images of the sun, providing better assistance in predicting solar activities and their impact on terrestrial and space weather.

“With the images, we will better predict and instantly notify people and authorities of impacts on Earth from solar activities, including disruption of communications, navigation and large-scale power outages,” said Zhang Peng. , deputy director of the National Satellite Meteorological Center. a press conference Thursday in which the images were released.

Solar activities, including solar flares, the explosive events that release energy from the sun’s surface, disrupt the functions of infrastructure by changing the Earth’s magnetic field and ionosphere.

As the sun is the main source of energy for the Earth, its activities also affect weather and climate systems, Zhang said, adding that people should always be careful with solar activities.

The images can also provide more accurate data for space weather forecasts to ensure the safe operations of manned spacecraft and astronauts performing spacewalks, Zhang said.

Zhang said facilities on Earth can only see sunlight in adverse atmospheric and weather conditions, while the satellite can detect other lights that directly affect Earth’s environment.

“Like a scanner for a body exam, the satellite imager can ‘check’ the sun at any time,” he said.

The imager, the first of its kind, can capture images of hot gases in the Sun’s outer atmosphere with x-rays, while the extreme ultraviolet images show the Sun’s dark bars at a lower temperature. Combining the two images can predict solar flares more effectively, the China Meteorological Administration said.

By the end of this year, the administration will publish an album of photos taken by the satellite.

Data from the Fengyun satellite series has served 118 countries, the administration said.

China launched Fengyun 3E, the world’s first civilian-use morning weather satellite, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on July 5.

It belongs to the group of polar orbiting satellites, which pass over the north and south poles in a north-south ellipse synchronous with the sun, passing through places on Earth at the same local time.

One side of the satellite faces the sun all the time, making it suitable for monitoring solar activity, Zhang said.

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