Science Seminars

9/08/2016 – Tom Woods; Early Results from the Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) CubeSat

Speaker: Tom Woods (LASP)
Date: Tuesday, Sep 08, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

The Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) is a 3-Unit (3U) CubeSat to study the energy distribution of solar flare soft X-ray (SXR) emissions of the quiet Sun, active regions, and during flares and to model the solar SXR impact in Earth’s ionosphere, thermosphere, and mesosphere (ITM) using these MinXSS solar measurements. The energy variability in the SXR range can vary by more than a factor of 100, yet we have limited spectral measurements in the SXR to accurately quantify the spectral dependence of this variability. Energy from SXR radiation is deposited mostly in the ionospheric E-region, from ~80 to ~150 km, but the precise altitude is strongly dependent on the SXR spectrum because of the steep slope and structure of the photoionization cross sections of atmospheric gases in this wavelength range. The new MinXSS solar SXR spectra measurements and associated modeling of the solar spectra and Earth’s ITM response will address these outstanding issues. The MinXSS primary instrument is the Amptek X123 X-ray spectrometer that measures over the range of 0.5 keV to 30 keV [2.5– 0.04 nm] with a nominal 0.15 keV energy resolution [spectral resolution of 0.7 nm at 2.5 nm and 0.0002 nm at 0.04 nm]. The MinXSS CubeSat was launched on December 6, 2015 to the International Space Station (ISS) and was then deployed from the ISS on May 16, 2016. This presentation will include an overview of the MinXSS CubeSat design and first MinXSS results about the solar SXR spectra measurements and variability during June-August 2016.