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 Innovative LED High Power Light Source for UV
22.06.2017 | Omicron - Laserage Laserprodukte GmbH

nachricht Spin liquids − back to the roots
22.06.2017 | Universität Augsburg

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: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>