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If I want to know the date of image acquisition, would it be the system:index or system:time_start property?

I'm afraid I have been created a mess and used wrong dates.

For example, if I have this list, is the date that is referenced by the red arrow the acquisition date or the publication date?

enter image description here

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Your best option is to use the system:time_start property if you want the acquisition date. The index can contain a lot of extra information, which depending on the sensor, describes path/row combinations, processing level, etc.

I think the red arrow indicates the date in your case, but check it on the website from the data provider if you want to be sure:

https://sentinel.esa.int/web/sentinel/user-guides/sentinel-1-sar/naming-conventions

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    Also note that you can format the unix time, which often represents system:time_start, to a more human-readable format using: image.date().format('YYYY-MM-dd'), for instance. Jan 1 '20 at 0:11

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