Degradation free spectrometers sounding rocket

July 20, 2012 By Jennifer Rumburg
Degradation free spectrometers sounding rocket
Partial interior assembly of Degradation Free Spectrometers sounding rocket. Credit: University of Southern California

(Phys.org) -- The July 24, 2012 Degradation Free Spectrometers (DFS) sounding rocket mission's ultimate objective is to significantly advance the state of the art in short wavelength observing solar spectrometers to permit more detailed investigation and understanding of the physics, and hence behavior, of our dynamic sun. Such spectrometers must be capable of high cadence measurements of the highly variable Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) solar flux and have minimal degradation over multi-year time scales while observing the sun 24/7, in order to improve previous state of the art instruments such as the still active SEM instrument on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft launched in December of 1995.

The present flight will carry two newly developed which meet the observational challenge and will be proven flight ready on the present mission and are discussed below. This is also a calibration flight. The mission carries a clone of the SOHO Solar Monitor (SEM) which is calibrated at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, both before and after flight, to provide a calibration check on the on-orbit SEM.

This on-orbit SOHO instrument is observing the sun from the La Grange point along the Earth-Sun line where the solar gravitational pull on the spacecraft is equal and opposite to the of the Earth. This position is about 1% of the distance from the Earth to the sun, or about one million miles from Earth, well outside the Earth’s atmosphere and also outside the Earth’s magnetic field. The current payload also carries rare gas ionization cells which integrate the solar flux over much of the EUV spectral range to provide independent absolute solar flux data, which will help to validate the underflight calibration data.

Launch is currently scheduled for July 24 1:11 p.m. MDT at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Explore further: ESA's SOHO will lead a fleet of solar observatories

Related Stories

ESA's SOHO will lead a fleet of solar observatories

May 24, 2006

New funding, to extend the mission of ESA's venerable solar watchdog SOHO, will ensure it plays a leading part in the fleet of solar spacecraft scheduled to be launched over the next few years.

ESA To Collaborate with NASA on Solar Science Mission

October 6, 2011

On October 4, 2011, the European Space Agency announced it's two next science missions, including Solar Orbiter, a spacecraft geared to study the powerful influence of the sun. Solar Orbiter will be an ESA-led mission, with ...

SDO/EVE calibration sounding rocket launch

June 21, 2012

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched on 11 February 2010, and the EUV Variability Experiment (EVE), one of the three solar instruments aboard SDO, began normal operations on 1 May 2010.

Hi-C to investigate activity in solar atmosphere

June 22, 2012

(Phys.org) -- NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. is leading an international effort to develop and launch the High Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C, on a sounding rocket from the White Sands Missile ...

SUMI rocket to study the Sun's magnetic fields

July 2, 2012

(Phys.org) -- On July 5, NASA will launch a sounding rocket mission called the Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Investigation or SUMI, to study the intricate, constantly changing magnetic fields on the sun in a hard-to-observe ...

Recommended for you

The search for molecular oxygen among cosmic oxygen atoms

July 27, 2015

Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe (after hydrogen and helium) and of course it is important: all known life forms require liquid water and its oxygen content. For over thirty years, astronomers have ...

Hubble looks in on a galactic nursery

July 27, 2015

This dramatic image shows the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's view of dwarf galaxy known as NGC 1140, which lies 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus. As can be seen in this image NGC 1140 has an ...

Fossil star clusters reveal their age

July 27, 2015

Using a new age-dating method, an international team of astronomers has determined that ancient star clusters formed in two distinct epochs – the first 12.5 billion years ago and the second 11.5 billion years ago.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.