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The SOHO concept and its realisation

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Abstract

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) — a space observatory to be placed, in 1995, 1.5 Gm sunward from the Earth in a halo orbit around the L1 Lagrange point — will investigate:

  • the solar corona, its heating and expansion into the solar wind, by both studying the radiation emerging from the outer solar atmosphere and in-situ solar wind measurements near 1 AU, and

  • the structure and dynamics of the solar interior by the method of helioseismology.

The science policy evolution leading to this comprehensive observatory concept is described. SOHO's link to the space-plasma-physics mission CLUSTER — devoted to the three-dimensional study of small structures in the magnetosphere — within the Solar Terrestrial Science Programme (STSP) and the embedding of STSP in the much larger International Solar Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) Programme are cited as well.

The scientific subjects to be addressed by SOHO are introduced, and their current status assessed. Subsequently, the measurements required to advance these subjects are stated quantitatively and the payload, which will actually perform these measurements, is presented. The mission design, comprising spacecraft, orbit, operations and the data and ground systems are described. The special efforts made to obtain a reliable radiometric calibration of the instruments observing the Sun in the extreme-ultraviolet and to achieve a stable sensitivity through extreme cleanliness of spacecraft and instruments are emphasized and substantiated.

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Huber, M.C.E., Malinovsky-Arduini, M. The SOHO concept and its realisation. Space Sci Rev 61, 301–334 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00222310

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Keywords

  • Solar Wind
  • Solar Corona
  • Solar Atmosphere
  • Lagrange Point
  • Halo Orbit