STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) comprises two nearly identical observatories that will orbit the Sun to monitor its violent outbursts known as coronal mass ejections (CME’s). These powerful solar eruptions are a major component of “space weather” which can impact Earth, satellites and astronauts.
The spacecraft launched at 8.52 pm EDT (1.52 am in the UK) on a Delta II rocket, with the two observatories being stacked one on top of the other. They separated from the launch vehicle approximately 25 minutes after lift off. Some 63 minutes later mission control received the first signals from the spacecraft which indicated that each observatory’s solar arrays had successfully deployed and were providing power.
Speaking live from the launch site Dr Chris Davis from CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, one of members of the UK STEREO team said, “The launch was truly spectacular with the spacecraft blazing through the dark night sky and providing an amazing reflection in the Banana River. This year’s fireworks displays will be a real let down in comparison!”
Professor Keith Mason, CEO of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) said, “We look forward with great anticipation to seeing the results from these twin observatories. Such in depth observations of the sun will provide invaluable information that will affect future activities in space and on Earth building on the success of previous missions such as YOHKOH and SOHO, and the recently launched Solar-B mission.”
The twin observatories will fly as mirror images of each other to obtain unique “stereo” views of the sun’s activities. One observatory will be placed ahead of Earth in its orbit around the sun and the other behind. Such positioning will allow the STEREO observatories to obtain 3-D images and sample the wind of the particles flying out from the Sun.
Lunar swingbys will be used to place the observatories into their correct orbits. This is the first time that lunar swingbys have been used to manipulate orbits of more than one spacecraft.
For the first couple of months the observatories will fly in an orbit from a point close to Earth to one that extends beyond the moon. Then mission operations personnel will synchronise spacecraft orbits, directing one observatory to its position trailing Earth in its orbit. Approximately one month later, the second observatory will be redirected to its position ahead of Earth. STEREO will then operate for a further two years.
UK scientists from CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the University of Birmingham built and will operate one of the instruments on each of the spacecraft.
APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences