STIX Science Objectives

STIX plays an important role in enabling Solar Orbiter to achieve two of its major science goals of (1) determining the magnetic connection of the Solar Orbiter spacecraft back to the Sun and (2) understanding the acceleration of electrons at the Sun during solar eruptions and their transport into interplanetary space.

The remote-sensing X-ray measurements made with STIX will determine the intensity, spectrum, timing, and location of accelerated electrons near the Sun. Working with other instruments onboard Solar Orbiter, STIX will help provide direct tracing of the magnetic structure, field line length, and connectivity. In this way, STIX, together with RPW and EPD, is able to magnetically link the heliospheric region observed at the spacecraft back to regions on the Sun where the electrons are accelerated.

Typical X-ray spectrum of a solar flare: the red curve shows the spectrum of the hot flare loop. The blue spectrum is produced by high energetic electrons accelerated during the flare near the solar surface.
The image of the same event shows the flare loop in red with high-energy emission from the location where the flare loop is rooted in the photosphere.