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See detailDesign status of ASPIICS, an externally occulted coronagraph for PROBA-3
Renotte, Etienne ULg; Alia, A.; Bemporad, A. et al

in Proc. SPIE Volume 9604 Solar Physics and Space Weather Instrumentation VI (2015, September 21)

The “sonic region” of the Sun corona remains extremely difficult to observe with spatial resolution and sensitivity sufficient to understand the fine scale phenomena that govern the quiescent solar corona ... [more ▼]

The “sonic region” of the Sun corona remains extremely difficult to observe with spatial resolution and sensitivity sufficient to understand the fine scale phenomena that govern the quiescent solar corona, as well as phenomena that lead to coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which influence space weather. Improvement on this front requires eclipse-like conditions over long observation times. The space-borne coronagraphs flown so far provided a continuous coverage of the external parts of the corona but their over-occulting system did not permit to analyse the part of the white-light corona where the main coronal mass is concentrated. The proposed PROBA-3 Coronagraph System, also known as ASPIICS (Association of Spacecraft for Polarimetric and Imaging Investigation of the Corona of the Sun), with its novel design, will be the first space coronagraph to cover the range of radial distances between ~1.15 and 3 solar radii where the magnetic field plays a crucial role in the coronal dynamics, thus providing continuous observational conditions very close to those during a total solar eclipse. PROBA-3 is first a mission devoted to the in-orbit demonstration of precise formation flying techniques and technologies for future European missions, which will fly ASPIICS as primary payload. The instrument is distributed over two satellites flying in formation (approx. 150m apart) to form a giant coronagraph capable of producing a nearly perfect eclipse allowing observing the sun corona closer to the rim than ever before. The coronagraph instrument is developed by a large European consortium including about 20 partners from 7 countries under the auspices of the European Space Agency. This paper is reviewing the recent improvements and design updates of the ASPIICS instrument as it is stepping into the detailed design phase. [less ▲]

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See detailDesign and modelisation of ASPIICS optics
Galy, Camille ULg; Fineschi, S.; Galano, D. et al

in Proc. SPIE Volume 9604 Solar Physics and Space Weather Instrumentation VI (2015, September 21)

In the framework of development of ASPIICS (Association of Spacecraft for Polarimetric and Imaging Investigation of the Corona of the Sun), the Centre Spatial de Liege is responsible of the optical design ... [more ▼]

In the framework of development of ASPIICS (Association of Spacecraft for Polarimetric and Imaging Investigation of the Corona of the Sun), the Centre Spatial de Liege is responsible of the optical design of the coronagraph and the optics will be manufactured by TOPTEC. The particularity of this coronagraph is to have an external occulter located 150 m ahead of the first imaging lens. This external occulter is re-imaged on an internal occulter which function is - as in a classical externally occulted Lyot coronagraph - to block the sun light diffracted by the external occulter and to reduce the straylight on the detector. The selection of this configuration is driven by the requirement to observe the corona as close as possible to the solar limb (i.e. 1 RSun) without imaging the limb itself. A requirement of 1.08 RSun is specified at optical design level to grant 1.2 Rsun at instrument level. The coronograph instrument is designed to have a field of view of 1.6° x 1.6° with a resolution of less than 6 arcsec. Its performances are limited by diffraction in a 530 – 590 nm wavelength range. This paper presents the optical design and demonstrates that by design the requirements are fulfilled within the misalignment, manufacturing and thermo-elastic error contributions. [less ▲]

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See detailThe solar orbiter imager (SoloHI) instrument for the Solar Orbiter mission
Howard, R. A.; Vourlidas, A.; Korendyke, C. M. et al

in Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering (2013)

The SoloHI instrument for the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission will track density fluctuations in the inner heliosphere, by observing visible sunlight scattered by electrons in the solar wind. Fluctuations ... [more ▼]

The SoloHI instrument for the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission will track density fluctuations in the inner heliosphere, by observing visible sunlight scattered by electrons in the solar wind. Fluctuations are associated with dynamic events such as coronal mass ejections, but also with the “quiescent” solar wind. SoloHI will provide the crucial link between the low corona observations from the Solar Orbiter instruments and the in-situ measurements on Solar Orbiter and the Solar Probe Plus missions. The instrument is a visible-light telescope, based on the SECCHI/Heliospheric Imager (HI) currently flying on the STEREO mission. In this concept, a series of baffles reduce the scattered light from the solar disk and reflections from the spacecraft to levels below the scene brightness, typically by a factor of 1012. The fluctuations are imposed against a much brighter signal produced by light scattered by dust particles (the zodiacal light/F-corona). Multiple images are obtained over a period of several minutes and are summed on-board to increase the signal-to-noise ratio and to reduce the telemetry load. SoloHI is a single telescope with a 40⁰ field of view beginning at 5° from the Sun center. Through a series of Venus gravity assists, the minimum perihelia for Solar Orbiter will be reduced to about 60 Rsun (0.28 AU), and the inclination of the orbital plane will be increased to a maximum of 35° after the 7 year mission. The CMOS/APS detector is a mosaic of four 2048 x 1930 pixel arrays, each 2-side buttable with 11 μm pixels. [less ▲]

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See detailSeeing the corona with the solar probe plus mission: the wide-field imager for solar probe+ (WISPR)
Vourlidas, A.; Howard, R. A.; Plunkett, S. P. et al

in Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series (2013)

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See detailThe DynaMICCS perspective. A mission for a complete and continuous view of the Sun dedicated to magnetism, space weather and space climate
Turck-Chièze, S.; Lamy, P.; Carr, C. et al

in Experimental Astronomy (2009), 23

The DynaMICCS mission is designed to probe and understand the dynamics of crucial regions of the Sun that determine solar variability, including the previously unexplored inner core, the radiative ... [more ▼]

The DynaMICCS mission is designed to probe and understand the dynamics of crucial regions of the Sun that determine solar variability, including the previously unexplored inner core, the radiative/convective zone interface layers, the photosphere/chromosphere layers and the low corona. The mission delivers data and knowledge that no other known mission provides for understanding space weather and space climate and for advancing stellar physics (internal dynamics) and fundamental physics (neutrino properties, atomic physics, gravitational moments...). The science objectives are achieved using Doppler and magnetic measurements of the solar surface, helioseismic and coronographic measurements, solar irradiance at different wavelengths and in-situ measurements of plasma/energetic particles/magnetic fields. The DynaMICCS payload uses an original concept studied by Thalès Alenia Space in the framework of the CNES call for formation flying missions: an external occultation of the solar light is obtained by putting an occulter spacecraft 150 m (or more) in front of a second spacecraft. The occulter spacecraft, a LEO platform of the mini sat class, e.g. PROTEUS, type carries the helioseismic and irradiance instruments and the formation flying technologies. The latter spacecraft of the same type carries a visible and infrared coronagraph for a unique observation of the solar corona and instrumentation for the study of the solar wind and imagers. This mission must guarantee long (one 11-year solar cycle) and continuous observations (duty cycle > 94%) of signals that can be very weak (the gravity mode detection supposes the measurement of velocity smaller than 1 mm/s). This assumes no interruption in observation and very stable thermal conditions. The preferred orbit therefore is the L1 orbit, which fits these requirements very well and is also an attractive environment for the spacecraft due to its low radiation and low perturbation (solar pressure) environment. This mission is secured by instrumental R and D activities during the present and coming years. Some prototypes of different instruments are already built (GOLFNG, SDM) and the performances will be checked before launch on the ground or in space through planned missions of CNES and PROBA ESA missions (PICARD, LYRA, maybe ASPIICS). [less ▲]

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