14 June 2006 Formation flying applied to solar coronal diagnostics: the ASPIICS coronagraph
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Abstract
Classical externally-occulted coronagraphs are presently limited in their performances by the distance between the external occulter and the front objective. The diffraction fringe from the occulter and the vignetted pupil which degrades the spatial resolution prevent observing the inner corona inside typically 2-2.5 solar radii. Formation flyers open new perspectives and allow to conceive giant, externally-occulted coronagraphs using a two-component space system with the external occulter on one spacecraft and the optical instrument on the other spacecraft at approximately 100-150 m from the first one. ASPIICS (Association de Satellites Pour l'Imagerie et l'Interfromtrie de la Couronne Solaire) is a payload proposed to ESA in the framework of the PROBA-3 mission of formation flyers presently under study. ASPIICS is composed of a single coronagraph which performs high spatial resolution imaging of the corona as well as 2-dimensional spectroscopy of several emission lines (in particular the forbidden line of Fe XIV at 530.285 nm) from the coronal base out to 3 solar radii ( R). Thus ASPIICS will address the main questions of the coronal physics. The classical design of an externally occulted coronagraph is adapted to the detection of the very inner corona as close as 1.01 R and the addition of a Fabry-Perot interferometer using a so-called etalon.
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S. Vivès, P. Lamy, P. Levacher, J. L. Boit, M. Saisse, "Formation flying applied to solar coronal diagnostics: the ASPIICS coronagraph", Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 626524 (14 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.671621; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.671621
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