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YOHKOH’s 10th Anniversary Press Conference

On August 30, solar observation satellite YOHKOH cerebrated its 10th anniversary. Solar activities have a cycle of 10 to 11 years. Launched right after the 22nd solar maximum, YOHKOH is now completing the observation of the 23rd solar maximum, which makes YOHKOH the world’s first solar X-ray satellite to have covered one whole solar activity cycle. Taking this opportunity, a press conference was held on September 10 aiming at active publicity of YOHKOH’s groundbreaking achievements, where the latest solar images were made open to the public.

In this press conference held at NASDA in Hamamatsu-cho, about 10 newspaper publishers (news agencies) participated. With Prof. Matogawa presiding over the meeting, message videos from partners in the U.S. and U.K. were shown and subsequently Prof. Kosugi introduced a summary of YOHKOH’s achievements during the past 10 years as follows:

YOHKOH has many “world’s bests” that we can be proud of. The soft X-ray telescope is the world’s first X-ray CCD on-board the satellite featuring computer-operated automatic imaging control. The hard X-ray telescope is a Fourier synthesis-type imaging device that employs a multi-element modulation collimator, which realized the X-ray imaging observations in the high-energy range of more than 30keV for the first time in the world. Continuous coverage of solar observation in X-rays for the long period of 10 years is also a world first. Using these scientific instruments and findings as leverage, YOHKOH has not only renewed the images of solar corona clearly depicting its dynamic activities, but also verified that the magnetic reconnection causes the eruptions of solar flares. YOHKOH has also provided us with vast amounts of accumulated data that paved the way to the practical application of space forecast. These scientific achievements amount to over 1,000 research papers.

Professor emeritus Ogawara (honorary Satellite Division Chief) and Dr. Hugh Hudson, ISAS resident from NASA, also attended the conference. After the conference, newspapers including the Asahi Shimbun ran articles on YOHKOH with color pictures. We are happy that we could make a contribution to the publicity of space science and feel that our efforts have been rewarded.

As this press conference was a joint project with NASA of USA and PPARC of the U.K., press conferences were concurrently held in Washington and London on the same day. After gaining momentum by these concurrent press conferences, we were to march in Hawaii where the YOHKOH’s 10th Anniversary International Conference was to be held. However, we are really sorry that we were forced to postpone the conference due to the terrorist attacks in New York.

January 18, 2002