Bread Loaf-Sized Satellite Brings New Information to Study of Solar Flares

Along with the visible light constantly emitted by the sun, there is a whole spectrum of X-ray and ultraviolet radiation that streams toward Earth. A new CubeSat - a miniature satellite that provides a low-cost platform for missions - is now in space observing a particular class of X-ray light that has rarely been studied. On June 9, 2016, the NASA-funded, bread loaf-sized Miniature X-Ray Solar Spectrometer, or MinXSS, CubeSat began science operations, collecting data on soft X-rays. This video shows a low-intensity solar eruption, or solar flare, from July 21, 2016. The flare imagery was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and the MinXSS data shown on the right shows the soft X-rays observed in near-Earth space by the CubeSat before and during the flare.