A sounding rocket fitted with technology to gather 1,500 images of the Sun in flat five minutes is set for launch Monday. Capturing five images per second, the Rapid Acquisition Imaging Spectrograph Experiment (RAISE) mission will focus in on the split-second changes that occur near active regions on the Sun. Also Read - High-speed solar storm to hit Earth today, impact phone signals: NASA warns
These are areas of intense and complex magnetic fields that can give birth to giant eruptions on the Sun that shoot energy and particles out in all directions, the US space agency said in a statement. Also Read - NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter uses same chip as Samsung Galaxy S5, OnePlus One
“Even on a five-minute flight, there are niche areas of science we can focus on well. There are areas of the Sun that need to be examined with the high-cadence observations we can provide,” said Don Hassler, solar scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Also Read - NASA Perseverance Mars rover uses 1998 iMac processor with just one upgrade
RAISE will create a kind of data product called a spectrogram which separates the light from the sun into different wavelengths.
“The Sun has been extremely active recently, producing several X-class flares in the past few weeks. The team will aim their instrument at one of these active regions to try to understand better the dynamics that cause these regions to erupt,” Hassler explained.
The team hopes to see how heat and energy move through such active regions, which, in turn, helps scientist understand what creates the regions and perhaps even what catalyses the sun’s eruptions.
RAISE’s launch time is planned for 2.07 p.m (EST) from the White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, New Mexico.