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 NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms
25.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor
24.04.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and 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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>