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25 November 1999 Advanced Solar Coronal Explorer mission (ASCE)
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The Advanced Solar Coronal Explorer (ASCE) is one of five missions selected for a Phase A Concept Study in the current round of proposed MIDEX missions. ASCE's instrument complement is supported by a SPARTAN 400 reusable carrier. The spacecraft is carried into orbit and deployed by the Space Shuttle; at mission's end, nominally 2 years later, it is retrieved and returned to earth for post-flight calibration. ASCE comprises two instrument modules, the Spectroscopic and Polarimetric Coronagraph (SPC) and the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUVI). The external occulter for the coronagraph is supported on a boom, which is extended 10 meters beyond the instrument apertures once the spacecraft is on station. Large aperture optics can therefore be used, and this, in combination with improvements in optical and photon detection efficiencies, will provide spectroscopy of the extended solar corona with unprecedented sensitivity and spatial resolution, routine measurements of the electron temperature, and polarimetry of the H I Lyman lines. SPC also extends the short wavelength limit to 28 nm. As a consequence, SPC will be able to perform the first He II 30.4 nm and He I 58.4 nm spectroscopy of the extended corona. In the visible part of the spectrum (450 - 600 nm), SPC's Large Aperture Spectroscopic Coronagraph (LASCO) channel will provide polarimetric images with 1.8 arc second resolution elements, which will allow the determination of polarized brightness of the coronal plasma. In a separate parallel channel LASCO will also provide images at single minor ion line wavelengths from which can be determined the shapes and Doppler shifts of those lines. The distant external occulter provides for major improvement in stray light suppression. The EUVI instrument will take high cadence images of the full disk and low corona at four selectable wavelengths with 0.9 arc second resolution elements. A description of the instrument design and performance capabilities is presented.
© (1999) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

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