Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SOHO’s ten-year triumph in unmasking the Sun

05.12.2005


Thanks to one of the most productive spacecraft ever built, scientists are far better acquainted with the star that lights our world and gives us life. Built for ESA by European industry, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) went into space on 2 December 1995.



The tenth anniversary of SOHO’s launch is a time for celebration for the scientists and engineers in Europe and the USA who conceived, created and still operate this unprecedented solar spacecraft – and who have rescued it from oblivion three times.

Four months after its flawless launch by a NASA rocket, SOHO was at its special vantage point 1.5 million kilometres away from the sunward side of Earth. There it watches the Sun unblinkingly 24 hours every day, and sends home a stream of images of the ceaseless frenzy in the solar atmosphere.


Apart from unmasking the Sun, and teaching us how it works, SOHO’s pictures give early warning of storms in space that can affect astronauts, satellites and power and communications systems on Earth.

Originally planned for a nominal life of just two years, SOHO has performed so well and delivered such important data that operations are now to set to continue at least until 2007.

That corresponds to a full 11-year cycle of magnetic storms on the Sun, and a further extension is under discussion. But the going has not always been easy.

All contact was lost with the spacecraft in June 1998. Dramatic efforts by ESA and NASA engineers, supported by Matra Marconi Space (now Astrium) who built SOHO, restored the spacecraft to full operation in November 1998.

Shortly afterwards, the spacecraft’s last gyroscope failed, but the teams developed new software that controls the spacecraft without a gyroscope. A third crisis occurred in June 2003, when SOHO’s main antenna became stuck. Using the secondary antenna and software for intermittent recording, observations continued.

"I tip my hat to SOHO’s engineering and operations teams, whose skills and dedication let us overcome all these challenges," says Bernhard Fleck, ESA’s Project Scientist for SOHO.

More than 3200 scientists from around the world have been involved with SOHO, which is a project of international collaboration between ESA and NASA. SOHO’s telescopes probe the Sun from deep in its interior and all the way out to Earth’s orbit and beyond, where the magnetised solar wind of atomic particles sweeps through interplanetary space.

Bernhard Fleck | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMKG5VLWFE_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds
20.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods
19.10.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>