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Solar & Stellar Info

MSSL Information

Solar Physics Projects at MSSL

Past and Present Missions

Since it was formed, the MSSL Solar Group has worked on a number of different solar physics hardware projects, mostly relating to fabricating instruments that work at ultra-violet and X-ray wavelengths.

MSSL's earliest involvement in spaceborne instrumentation came with an experiment on Ariel-I that made the first spectroscopic X-ray observations of solar flares. Other X-ray instruments were later flown on OSO-4 and ESRO-II; an X-ray spectroheliograph was flown on OSO-5 and a Lyman-alpha spectrometer was flown on OSO-6.

More recently, the instruments built include the X-ray Polychromator (XRP) that flew on the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM), the Coronal Helium Abundance Spacelab Experiment (CHASE) which was part of the Spacelab-2 shuttle payload, the Bragg Crystal Spectrometer (BCS) which was on the highly successful Yohkoh mission, and the Coronal Diagnostic Spectrometer (CDS), which is on SoHO. We have also provided CCDs for the recent MOSES rocket flight mission, led by Charles Kankelborg of Montana State University.

Hinode (Solar-B)

MSSL leads the consortium that built and operates the EUV Imaging Spectrometer (EIS) which provides plasma diagnostics in the solar chromosphere, transition region and corona. Hinode was launched on 23 Sep (JST) 2006.   See  here  for details.


STEREO was launched on October 25 2006, and comprises two identical spacecraft in a heliocentric orbit at 1AU that lead and lag the Earth. The instruments on each spacecraft provide measurements from two vantage points, allowing 3-D studies of the solar atmosphere and CMEs, in addition to a clear view of the Sun-Earth line.   See  here  for details. MSSL has a science Co-I role.

Future Missions

Solar Orbiter

The Solar Orbiter is a spacecraft which will follow an elliptic orbit very close to the Sun allowing an unprecedented view of the polar regions. It will carry two instrument packages. These include Solar remote sensing instruments to directly view the Sun from close, high latitudes making observations of the solar atmosphere at high temporal and spatial resolutions, with the Heliospheric in-situ instruments making measurements of the currently unexplored inner heliosphere.

This page last modified 6 July 2009 by www@mssl.ucl.ac.uk

Mullard Space Science Laboratory - Holmbury St. Mary - Dorking - Surrey - RH5 6NT - Telephone: +44 (0)1483 204100 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

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