Advances in Solar and Cosmic X-Ray Astronomy: A Survey of Experimental Techniques and Observational Results
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Publisher SummaryThis chapter discusses the advances in solar and cosmic X–ray astronomy. Discrete sources of X-ray emission in the corona consist of very hot plasmas confined by magnetic fields, and X-ray bursts seem to be related to instabilities in these fields. Solar X-ray observations touch on several problems associated with plasma confinement as encountered in controlled nuclear fusion. Solar X-radiation gives information about plasmas under conditions presently unobtainable in the laboratory. X-ray bursts are emitted by the hottest or most energetic regions within solar flares, so they may be the key to understanding these complex phenomena. The development of the V-2 rocket permitted man to begin explorations of X-rays from celestial objects and gave birth to the youngest branch of an ancient science. The greatest advancement in cosmic X-ray astronomy has been achieved with the first Small Astronomy Satellite instrumentation carried on board. This satellite had revealed the presence of several previously unknown galactic X-ray sources, X-ray pulsars with unusual properties, and possibly 45 extragalactic X-ray sources, including Cygnus A, M 82, NGC 4696, and NGC 4151.

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