SPICE is an imaging spectrometer operating at vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) wavelengths, 70.4 – 79.0 nm and 97.3 - 104.9 nm. It is a facility instrument on the Solar Orbiter mission, which carries 10 science instruments in all, to make observations of the Sun’s atmosphere and heliosphere, at close proximity to the Sun, i.e to 0.28 A.U. at perihelion. SPICE’s role is to make VUV measurements of plasma in the solar atmosphere. SPICE is designed to achieve spectral imaging at spectral resolution >1500, spatial resolution of several arcsec, and two-dimensional FOV of 11 x16arcmins. The many strong constraints on the instrument design imposed by the mission requirements prevent the imaging performance from exceeding those of previous instruments, but by being closer to the sun there is a gain in spatial resolution. The price which is paid is the harsher environment, particularly thermal. This leads to some novel features in the design, which needed to be proven by ground test programs. These include a dichroic solar-transmitting primary mirror to dump the solar heat, a high in-flight temperature (60deg.C) and gradients in the optics box, and a bespoke variable-line-spacing grating to minimise the number of reflective components used. The tests culminate in the systemlevel test of VUV imaging performance and pointing stability. We will describe how our dedicated facility with heritage from previous solar instruments, is used to make these tests, and show the results, firstly on the Engineering Model of the optics unit, and more recently on the Flight Model. For the keywords, select up to 8 key terms for a search on your manuscript's subject.
SPICE is a high resolution imaging spectrometer operating at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, 70.4 – 79.0 nm and 97.3 -
104.9 nm. It is a facility instrument on the Solar Orbiter mission. SPICE will address the key science goals of Solar
Orbiter by providing the quantitative knowledge of the physical state and composition of the plasmas in the solar
atmosphere, in particular investigating the source regions of outflows and ejection processes which link the solar surface
and corona to the heliosphere. By observing the intensities of selected spectral lines and line profiles, SPICE will derive
temperature, density, flow and composition information for the plasmas in the temperature range from 10,000 K to
10MK. The instrument optics consists of a single-mirror telescope (off-axis paraboloid operating at near-normal
incidence), feeding an imaging spectrometer. The spectrometer is also using just one optical element, a Toroidal Variable
Line Space grating, which images the entrance slit from the telescope focal plane onto a pair of detector arrays, with a
magnification of approximately x5. Each detector consists of a photocathode coated microchannel plate image
intensifier, coupled to active-pixel-sensor (APS). Particular features of the instrument needed due to proximity to the Sun
include: use of dichroic coating on the mirror to transmit and reject the majority of the solar spectrum, particle-deflector
to protect the optics from the solar wind, and use of data compression due to telemetry limitations.
The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) is a pair of identical satellites that will orbit the Sun so as to drift ahead of and behind Earth respectively, to give a stereo view of the Sun. STEREO is currently scheduled for launch in November 2005. One of the instrument packages that will be flown on each of the STEREO spacecrafts is the Sun Earth Connection Coronal and Heliospheric Investigation (SECCHI), which consists of an extreme ultraviolet imager, two coronagraphs, and two side-viewing heliospheric imagers to observe solar coronal mass ejections all the way from the Sun to Earth. We report here on the inner coronagraph, labeled COR1. COR1 is a classic Lyot internally occulting refractive coronagraph, adapted for the first time to be used in space. The field of view is from 1.3 to 4 solar radii. A linear polarizer is used to suppress scattered light, and to extract the polarized brightness signal from the solar corona. The optical scattering performance of the coronagraph was first modeled using both the ASAP and APART numerical modeling codes, and then tested at the Vacuum Tunnel Facility at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. In this report, we will focus on the COR1 optical design, the predicted optical performance, and the observed performance in the lab. We will also discuss the mechanical and thermal design, and the cleanliness requirements needed to achieve the optical performance.
A wide variety of ultraviolet detectors are used aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft. The ultraviolet instrument package aboard SOHO includes one full disk EUV flux monitor (SEM: 30.4 nm), one full sky mapper (SWAN: 121.6 nm), one full-Sun imager (EIT: 17.1 - 30.4 nm), and three spectrometers (CDS: 15.1 - 78.5 nm; SUMER: 66.0 - 161.0 nm; UVCS: 93.7 - 136.1 nm). All wavelengths are first order. In total, there are fifteen UV detectors aboard SOHO with six distinctly different designs. These range from photodiodes, through backside-thin CCDs, to two-dimensional microchannel-plate detectors. Some instruments measure an analog signal (such as the charge deposited in a CCD well), while others measure single photon events. The intense brightness of the Sun imposes unique challenges on these astronomical detectors. After almost three years of continuous observation in space, a large body of data has been gathered on their performance. How well each detector system has performed over this period is examined in turn.
The coronal diagnostic spectrometer is designed to probe the solar atmosphere through the detection of spectral emission lines in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength range 15.0 - 80.0 nm. By observing the intensities of selected lines and line profiles, it is possible to derive temperature, density, flow, and abundance information for the plasmas in the solar atmosphere. Spatial resolution down to a few arcseconds and temporal resolution of seconds, allows such studies to be made within the fine-scale structure of the solar corona. Furthermore, coverage of a large wavelength band provides the capability for simultaneously observing the properties of plasma across the wide temperature ranges of the solar atmosphere. The CDS design makes use of a Wolter-Schwarzschild II telescope which simultaneously illuminates two spectrometer systems, one operating in normal incidence the other in grazing incidence. In this paper we describe the salient features of the design of the CDS instrument and discuss the performance characteristics of CDS as established through pre-delivery test and calibration activities.
An engineering model intensified CCD detector for the SOHO Coronal Diagnostics Spectrometer has been built and tested at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. A windowless MCP intensifier tube converts EUV radiation (30 - 65 nm) into visible light, which is focused via a lens system onto a Tektronix 1024 X 1024 CCD. Tests have been made of this engineering model to determine the following characteristics: quantum efficiency, resolution, throughput, linearity, statistical variation, readout noise, scattering, and flat-field response. In almost all respects, the detector performed as expected. This detector has been delivered, and work is underway on the flight detector.
The Research Amplifying Imaging Detector consists of a microchannel plate image intensifier with a thin coating (3500-10,000 A) of the phosphor tetraphenyl-butadiene (TPB) on the entrance window to convert EUV radiation to visible, and coupled via a lens to a CCD detector. This design allows great flexibility in selecting the pixel size and field of view, with a simple mechanical design. The phosphor appears to be quite rugged, with no degradation having appeared during several months of testing both in and out of vacuum. Tests have been made at visible and EUV (304 A) wavelengths of the following performance aspects: EUV spectral sensitivity, spatial resolution (both of components and of the system as a whole), noise, linearity, and dynamic range. An improved detector for the Coronal Diagnostic Spectrometer experiment on the Solar Heliospheric Observatory satellite is being presently designed.