On Sunday, China successfully launched the Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S), which is the country’s first space-based solar observatory that is both comprehensive and space-based.

According to Sputnik, which quotes the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the observatory has been given the name “Kuafu-1,” after a giant from Chinese legend who desired to catch and control the Sun (CASC). The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, located in the far northwestern region of China, served as the point of origin for the launch of the Long March-2D carrier rocket.

The mission is expected to last for four years, during which time scientists will be able to record and analyze photographs of the Sun at levels of activity that have never been seen before. This “solar maximum,” or the Sun’s most active phase, is projected to occur around the year 2025. The ASO-S is China’s first full-scale equipment designed specifically for the study of the sun’s nearest stellar neighbor. According to Zhu Cheng, the principal engineer of the ASO-S platform system, it is also the world’s first solar telescope in space that is capable of monitoring solar flares and coronal mass ejections simultaneously. This distinction was awarded to the ASO-S telescope.

Kuafu-1 will make observations of the Sun from an orbit that is approximately 720 kilometers (447 miles) above the surface of the Earth. Its findings will provide essential information regarding the sun’s two most tumultuous events. According to China Daily, it would also provide data on the powerful radiation and magnetic fields generated by these phenomena, which would help scientists understand how these phenomena affect sensitive equipment on Earth and in orbit, such as satellites, electronics, power grids, and internet services. This information would be provided to them by the observatory.

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The project will be joining the ranks of previous sun-gazing space observatories launched by other countries, such as the Parker Solar Probe launched by NASA and the Solar Orbiter launched by the European Space Agency. The identical mission, which will be given the name Aditya-L1, will be sent into space by India in the year 2023 with the intention of researching the solar atmosphere.

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