Japan - UK - USA
Solar Optical Telescope
Focal Plane Package
Japan's next solar physics mission, Solar-B, will place the first large (50 cm) solar optical telescope in space. Launch is scheduled for August 2004.

Whereas Yohkoh (Solar-A) continues to be highly successful in studying the active Sun, with emphasis on high-energy phenomena in the corona, Solar-B will study the connections between fine magnetic field elements in the photosphere and the structure and dynamics of the entire solar atmosphere.


        A computer enhanced picture of the Solar-B satellite in

FPP is the focal plane package for the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT), which is a diffraction limited aplanatic Gregorian with an aperture of  0.5 m providing angular resolution  of  ~0.2 arcsec over the field-of-view of  ~400 x 400 arcsec.

FPP consists of a filter vector magnetograph (FG) and a spectro-polarimeter (SP). This combination allows the acquisition, for the first time, of a continuous series of high-precision vector magnetograms, Dopplergrams and filtergrams with sub-arcsec resolution.

Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL) is responsible for producing FPP. In a follow-on to the GOES-SXI collaboration, LMSAL have again placed a subcontract with MSSL to manage the procurement of Marconi CCDs and perform additional CCD characterisation.

FPP will use three custom designs of CCD, as follows:

  • Correlation Tracker (CT) CCD80

  • Frame transfer, 50 x 50pixel image area, 50 x 50 storage area, 2 o/p nodes, front-illuminated, broad optical response, operating temperature ~20C
  • Filtergraph (FG) CCD74

  • Split frame transfer, 2048 x 2048pixel image area, 2 off 2048 x 1024 storage areas (storage areas unmasked so can also be used for imaging), 4 o/p nodes (one at each end of each serial register), back illuminated, broad optical response, operating temperature ~-40C
  • Spectro-Polarimeter (SP) CCD75

  • 2off frame transfer CCDs on one piece of silicon, each with 1024 x 224 pixel image area and 1024 x 224 storage area, 4 o/p nodes (one at each end of each serial register), front illuminated, response only required at a wavelength of 630.2nm, operating temperature ~-40C

    Solar B - FPP Links

    ISAS (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan)
    LMSAL (Lockheed Martin solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, USA)
    e2v technologies

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    Page prepared by Chris McFee