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Living with a star

Жизнь со звездой

In continuation of the articles about solar activity and space weather, I will tell you about the automatic machines that allowed us to make significant progress in studying these processes.

Despite the fact that the Sun is perhaps the most important object in the Solar system (after Earth of course) the number of probes to study inferior to that of the same number for Venus and Mars. However, given the fact that a significant part of the spacecraft sent to Venus and Mars was lost, and the average time of their operation did not exceed a couple of years (decades versus the multitude of devices, exploring the Sun) — the situation in indicator research propose hypersound or ultras-years is still in favor of the Sun.

Жизнь со звездой

Luna 1 is launched January 2, 1959. Despite the fact that the main purpose (getting to the moon) has failed, its mission was very successful. One of the achievements of this device is the first ever direct observation of the characteristics of the solar wind.

Жизнь со звездой

Pioneer-5 — made the first measurements of the interplanetary magnetic field, radiation levels and properties of solar flares. Despite the quick exit from the building (he worked in orbit from March 11 to April 30, 1960) this tiny satellite weighing 45 kg with a diameter of 66 cm is considered the most successful of the entire series satellites “pioneer”.

Жизнь со звездой

Series satellites “Orbiting solar Observatory” (Orbiting Solar Observatory) — an 8 sequentially operated apparatus aimed to study the 11-year cycles of the Sun in ultraviolet and x-rays. With the launch of the first Observatory on 7 March 1962 and until the end of the last one in October 1978, usually in orbit was 2-3 device in this series. The orientation of the spacecraft in the Sun was carried out by the rotation.

With the second device associated serious accident: April 14, 1964 on the tests of integration of the device with a solid propellant third stage of the Delta rocket With one of the technicians accidentally set fire to her discharge static electricity, wherein the incident burned three people, and the device ricocheted from the roof fell down in the corner of the building. It took 10 months to restore it, after which he still was launched on 3 February 1965.

The third camera he had to make two copies, as modifications of the third stage Delta-s (made after the previous event) led to its premature launch, in flight, and the unit itself is burned in the dense layers of the atmosphere. Despite this new “third” machine was able to establish the uniformity of gamma radiation across the sky, and also found the x-ray flash from the object of Scorpius X-1. The sixth unit was one of the first recorded gamma-ray bursts, the seventh discovered gamma rays in solar flares, and the eighth found of the iron line in clusters of galaxies.

Жизнь со звездой

Devices of pioneer-6-9 (their launches were carried out from December 16, 1965 to November 8, 1968) — the automatic interplanetary station conducted long-term measurement of space weather, solar wind and cosmic rays. They can be attributed to the first “long term” scientific missions — the last of the pioneer-6 was established on 8 December 2000 (in honor of its 35th anniversary).

Presumably with the exception of the Pioneer 9 failed in 1983, they are still functional. The main reason for the abandonment of their usage is archaic instruments (which overlaps new satellites) and telecommunication (demanding huge plates with connection speed of 512 bit / sec).

Жизнь со звездой

A couple of units of series Helios (launched 10 December 1974 and 15 January 1976) is a joint development of NASA and the DFVLR (then part of Germany). They studied the interplanetary environment, including studies of cosmic dust, cosmic rays, the interplanetary magnetic field. With them also was first detected helium ions in the solar wind.

For more detailed studies of the Sun they were sent to heliocentric orbit with a perihelion at 0.3 astronomical units (up to them so close to the Sun from AMC, no one was selected). The devices were able to detect “magnetic clouds” of plasma (along with other satellite — SMM), however, to link their origin with coronal mass ejections at the time did not work.

Жизнь со звездой

International comet researcher — launched August 12, 1978, was the first device running on the Lissajous orbit, where it rotates around the point L1 lies between the Earth and the Sun. The unit has three detectors of cosmic rays of different energies, detectors of protons and magnetic fields, plasma waves and x-rays. After 10 June 1982, its mission to study solar-terrestrial relations, solar wind and cosmic rays, he was sent to study the comet Giacobini-Zinner, the tail of which he passed on 11 September 1985.

5 may 1997 the unit was sent to NASA to “retire” with the shutdown of all scientific instruments. In 1999 and 2008, NASA reviewed his condition. In April 2014 crowdfunding platform RocketHub has a project for the restoration of this machine, which has collected almost 160 thousand $. 29 may 2014 this team was able to establish the connection with the device (with permission from NASA of course). On 2 July, they tried to start its engines for the first time since 1987, but it failed due to lack of nitrogen for tank pressurization. The team continued to work with scientific equipment until September 16, when contact with the satellite was lost. Presumably this occurred due to the decrease of energy release of the solar panels, since the device is flying in this moment by the Earth flying away from the Sun (so it already lost in 1981). The next meeting of the apparatus with the Ground should occur in 2031.

Жизнь со звездой

Voyager 1 and 2 — although the main purpose of these devices was to study the outer planets of the Solar system, they have also made a contribution to the study of the Sun: with them, refined the properties of the solar wind at different distances from the Sun, the velocity of propagation of coronal emission substances and the location of the bow shock wave of the Solar system (where solar wind collides with interstellar medium).

Жизнь со звездой

Solar Maximum Mission (also known as SolarMax or just SMM) was launched on 14 February 1980 to study solar phenomena. By 21 June he was able to detect the neutrons generated during solar flares (this is quite a rare event and is recorded on average once per year) and also fast fail — in November. The unit lost orientation in the Sun and held in this state until April 1984, when the mission “space Shuttle”” rel=”nofollow”>STS-41-C is not fixed it.

To catch the satellite for repair turned out not at once: in the beginning it was trying to do with the help of a manned maneuvering module (MMU, unfortunately after the disaster of the “Challenger” from using it and refused), then tried to use the manipulator Canadarm. In the end, dock was only the next day after issuing apparatus signals from the ground and reducing the frequency of rotation.

Жизнь со звездой

All space Shuttle mission ultimately was successful and the system orientation of the satellite with one of the scientific instruments managed to fix it and make it a photo presented above. Despite such alternative emblem of the mission (indicate date of landing, made on Friday the 13th) SMM worked until the entry into the atmosphere on 2 December 1989, simultaneously opening several near-sun comets.

Also, the unit managed to establish that during solar maximum (when sunspot number is increasing dramatically) the luminosity of the Sun is not falling, but on the contrary, increases — this is due to the presence of spots around the solar torches which on the contrary have increased luminosity.

Жизнь со звездой

AMS Ulysses — launched October 6, 1990 a joint project of ESA and NASA. It was the first device launched at a steep angle to the Ecliptic plane of the Solar system. Its task was to study the poles of the Sun and a little bit of Jupiter (in the course of gravitational shunting the output to the desired orbit and flyby in 2004). The machine was able to establish that the South pole of the Sun has a fixed position (as well as North), and passed through the tails of several comets, he was able to establish that their length can extend to several astronomical units in length.

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But everything has a price, and Ulysses displayed as″ rel=”nofollow”>basic load space Shuttle “discovery” (which has a payload of 24.4 tons in Leo) and overclock two additional steps, had a total weight of 365 kg of which only 55 kg had on scientific equipment. In this regard, the device had a very limited set of instruments: the detectors of ions and electrons, cosmic dust and rays. This list is not included any cameras, so we still have no photos of the poles of the Sun.

As AMC’s “Ulysses” during injection into orbit had to move away as much as to Jupiter, as a power source for use RTGs, as well as the weight of the apparatus was severely limited — that the power was very small. Thus, reduction of power Devices has led to the fact that even the 70-meter dish network deep space network NASA end-of-life of the device began to lose its signal, and in 2008, a decrease of power is caused freezing of the fuel (hydrazine), the device could not maneuver and was lost (though worked by that time had 17 years and 4 times exceeding the estimated useful life).

Жизнь со звездой

Solar-A and Solar-B machines which, after launch received more euphonious names of “Yohkoh” (solar beam) and “Hinode” (Sunrise). This is a joint project of Japan, the UK and the USA. The apparatus for this project was launched on 30 August 1991 (worked until 14 December 2001) and 23 September 2006 (still working).

“Sunbeam” for the first time had a CCD sensor among a x-ray space telescopes, and also had another x-ray telescope more hard spectrum and a couple of spectrometers to search for ions of iron, sulfur and calcium. “Sunrise” received a 0.5 meter optical and x-ray telescope and ultraviolet spectrometer.

The main objective of both models was to study the Sun’s magnetic field through its various manifestations. The second unit managed to detect Alfven waves in the Sun, and find direct evidence that magnetic reconnection is the source of solar flares.

Жизнь со звездой

A series of spacecraft CORONAS — a joint project of Roskosmos and Russian Academy of Sciences (and formerly also in Ukraine), providing for the study of the Sun in the course of one 11-year cycle. The research program was to be realized through consecutive launch of 3 devices: the CORONAS-on, CORONAS-f and CORONAS-Foton. The machines were a wide range of tasks: study of the various manifestations of Sunny weather, seismological study of the internal structure of the Sun, the study of the interaction of active phenomena on the Sun’s emission of charged particles and their interaction already with the upper layers of the atmosphere.

For this purpose, the devices were installed receivers almost the entire electromagnetic spectrum: from radio to gamma. In creating devices for it involved Russia, Ukraine, India and Poland. Funding problems forced to shift the dates of the launches, but reliable the first two machines allowed us to virtually eliminate the negative consequences of this: the CORONAS-launched on 2 March 1994 he worked until March 2001, and CORONAS-f launched on July 31, 2001, was de-orbited in December 2005 (shorter lifetime of the second unit was caused by the impact of solar maximum on the Earth’s atmosphere and consequently a more rapid braking of the craft in low orbit, which in the case of both devices was about 550 km).

However, the third apparatus (CORONAS-Photon) launched on 30 January 2009 was less fortunate: he was able to work only 278 days then failed because of failures in the work of the platform “meteor” (although all of the scientific instruments continued to operate). In progress the CORONAS-Photon was collected 380 GB of scientific information.

Жизнь со звездой

WIND was designed to study the solar wind. Although it was launched 1 November 1994 until the next in this list of apparatus, but because of the desire of scientists to learn more about the Earth’s magnetic field and surrounding the moon Wednesday, he joined him in the Lagrangian point L1 only 10 years later. WIND is 2.4 m in diameter at a height of 1.8 m and a dry weight of 895 kg, with the stabilization apparatus by rotating allowed to install the 2 “short” magnetometer 12 and 15 m long, and one long 100-meter magnetometer adjustable long wire. In the apparatus are detectors of ions and electrons of two energy ranges and two gamma spectrometers, one of which was disabled due to exhaustion of reserves, and the other (produced by the Ioffe Institute) continues to work as the unit itself still. During this time, WIND was the source for 4300 scientific publications. Residues from 300 kg of fuel unit should be enough for another 50 years of being at the point L1.

Жизнь со звездой

SOHO is a joint project of NASA and ESA launched on 2 December 1995, which continues its work until now. On Board were as many as 12 instruments, some of which remain unique to this day (though the other part was already off in connection with the launch of newer SDO):

Жизнь со звездой

Description of SOHO devices

SOHO has a very unique and interesting history: originally, the mission of the unit was calculated on two years, but started work in may 1996 24 Jun 1998 communication with the satellite was lost during a routine calibration of gyroscopes (a device lost orientation in the Sun, which could not recover).

As the unit was very valuable and to lose it did not want, experts ESA immediately went to the United States in order to be able but their plates are using the Network for deep space network of NASA. However, a month of daily attempts of communication with the apparatus gave no results, and the experts went almost unprecedented step: using both the 305-meter radio telescope at Arecibo to transmit and the 70-meter telescope on Goldstone they received for well over an hour trying to set the current position of SOHO. The device was discovered close to the expected position, but the data testified to the fact that it rotates at a speed of 1 revolution in 53 seconds solar panels has lost orientation in the Sun.

Only to August 3, when the orientation of the solar panels is partially recovered and the batteries of the device began to charge, was obtained from him a short signal in a few seconds long. After charging both batteries 12 August SOHO was commanded to activate the heaters of tanks of hydrazine, which by that time had completely frozen. Several times heating process was delayed since the telemetry showed that the battery began to discharge (orientation of solar panels was not accurate and needs heaters for energy they did not cover, and the “rescue team” SOHO didn’t want to risk reducing the battery). After the process of heating the tanks and fuel pipelines SOHO was again focused on the Sun on September 16. Then began a gradual recovery devices: SUMER – the first was launched on 7 October, COSTEP and ERNE included 9 th, UVCS — 10, MDI 12th, LASCO and EIT — 13th, CDS and SWAN — 17th, and only the 23rd Oct with the launch of the latest device (CELIAS) the device is restored to a fully functionality.

However, this was not the end of his adventure: after recovery of scientific instruments were that only 1 of the 3 gyros machine continues to work, and on 21 December was out of order and the remaining gyro. ESA had to develop for SOHO new programme of work, in order he could continue to work without consuming the remains of the precious fuel. Reprogramming of the device was implemented on 1 February 1999.

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Despite this terrible beginning of the beginning, the machine continues to operate without significant disruptions. But all equipment eventually becomes obsolete, and with the launch of SDO in early 2010, part of SOHO devices that have common objectives, are being shut down: in July 2010, the EIT instrument has been translated into restricted mode and only doing two sets of pictures a day (for the sake of continuous observation series), April 12, 2011 was disabled the MDI instrument, 23 avara 2013 — UVCS, August 8, 2014 — SUMER, and September 5 — CDS.

In addition to its primary mission of SOHO with the help of volunteers helped open 2 thousands of comets on 26 December 2010, and to 13 September 2015, their number has exceeded 3 thousand — therefore, with the help of SDO was opened more than half of all currently known comets.

Жизнь со звездой

Advanced Composition Explorer is a spacecraft launched August 25, 1997 to study high-energy particles of the solar wind and interplanetary environment. At the moment, ACE is primarily used to improve the forecasting of magnetic storms for half an hour before their arrival, thanks to his position at Lagrange point L1, 1.5 million km from Earth on the line Earth-Sun. The location of this point also allows him to save fuel: August 15, will be executed 20 years from the time of its launch, and remains of the fuel it is approximately 37 kg, which should hold him before 2026.

Жизнь со звездой

TRACE is a small telescope with an aperture of 30 cm, launched 2 April 1998, as part of the project “Small research programs” (SMEX) NASA projects involving the cheaper 120 $ million. The unit carried out the images of the Sun in 8,5 minutes of arc (approximately 14 part of its total area) using a CCD a resolution of 1000×1000 pixels in the range from the visible to the far ultraviolet. From 20 April 1998 to 2010 he carried out the search links magnetic fields with a plasma structure in the solar atmosphere (photosphere, chromosphere and corona).

Жизнь со звездой

“Solar spectrograph for high energy behalf of Reuven Ramati” or RHESI — Observatory x-ray and gamma spectrum, aimed at studying solar flares, which was launched on 5 February 2002, at the SMEX program. The first time she was able to capture gamma radiation from the flash and determine what the frequency of these gamma-ray bursts more often than previously thought. RHESI continues to work still, and with the help of data already written 774 scientific articles.

Жизнь со звездой

“The researcher boundaries interstellar” or IBEX is a small satellite weighing only 80 kg, launched from the aircraft on a rocket “Pegasus” on 19 October 2008 as part of SMEX. It has two neutral particle detector high and low energies which is designed to measure the limits of the heliosphere of the Sun. At the end of their primary 2-year mission the satellite was possible to specify the velocity of our Solar system relative to the interstellar medium (speed measurement was 23.2 km/s relative to previously measured using the AMS “Ulysses” 26.3 km/s). And at the end of its extended mission, the IBEX found plasma tail from the Solar system. The satellite continues to operate until now, the communication speed is only 16KB/s.

Жизнь со звездой
A pair of spacecraft STEREO-A and B running in 2006 are composed of 4 sets of instruments: SECCHI is to study the corona and heliosphere (one camera far-ultraviolet and two pairs of coronagraphs and cameras to capture the solar wind); IMPACT — particle detectors coronary emissions; PLASTIC detectors of protons, alpha particles and heavy ions; SWAVES antenna to measure disturbances in the radio in the direction Sun-Earth.

The main objective of these devices is the construction of 3D models of coronal mass ejections, which was very important to build a model of their education (the fact that solar flares and coronal emissions always are shot with different cameras, which on the 2D images they were very difficult to tie together). For the job they were sent into orbits around the Sun in such a way that one camera was a little ahead of the Earth and the other slightly behind her. So they got a picture of two equally spaced from Ground points which gradually receded. Since mid-2011, their distance from the Earth allowed us to obtain a complete picture of the Sun (as long as the device is STEREO-B is not lost orientation on October 1, 2014):

Жизнь со звездой

Because devices in the process was to move away from the Earth (up to 2 and.e.) for communication they use directional antennas that need to be precisely aimed at the Ground. Problems with STEREO-B happened in the course of routine tests, simulating the loss of communication apparatuses in the process of passing their behind the Sun (the same problems experienced by the Mars Rovers and satellites orbiting Mars which lose communication with Earth for a couple of weeks, when Mars goes behind the Sun).

The temporarily recovered 21 August 2016, but due to too rapid rotation to restore its orientation to the Earth failed as the rotating flywheel to stop the rotation was insufficient, and the time for defrost fuel tanks to a new loss of communication from MCC was not. Unfortunately the next opportunity to communicate with will appear only in 2022 (when the antenna will again be aimed at the Ground). The mission team took into account the error and STEREO-A with no problems experienced the passage of conjunction with the Sun for several months in 2015 and continues to work still normally.

Жизнь со звездой

The solar dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched into orbit on 11 February 2010 with a rocket Atlas 5 with the RD-180 engine, and then took its position in geosynchronous orbit. This Observatory has an on Board magnetometer and 11 cameras of different ranges which removes the entire surface of the Sun with an interval of 12 seconds and a resolution of 4096×4096 pixels, which gives a data stream of about 1.5 terabytes of data per day.

Жизнь со звездой
Images of the Sun made by the Observatory in 11 different regions of the spectrum with an interval of less than a minute

Such a large data flow required special efforts to maintain it: the device has two highly directional antennas to transmit data and a separate one for telemetry. Ground equipment consists of two 18-meter antennas, used exclusively for communication with SDO. This system allows you to have total channel 130 Mbit/s for two antennas.

The unit has its own website where you can see pictures of the Sun in real time. And every year, around the “birthday” SDO space flight Center Goddard lays out a video composed of photographs taken during this time: 1 year, 2 year, 3 year, 4 year, 5 year, 6 year, 7 year.

Жизнь со звездой

DSCOVR launched on 11 February, 2015, to June 8, he was already 7 machine to get to the point L1 of the Earth-the Sun. The composition of this Observatory includes a set of PlasMag instrument consists of a magnetometer (pictured) when folded, the Faraday Cup to register positively charged particles and electrostatic analyzer for electrons. The apparatus also includes a device NISTAR to measure 4 ranges of the entire spectrum reaching the Earth sunlight (to increase the precision of our knowledge about the Sun’s impact on climate change of the Earth) and a color camera EPIC removing the Earth in 10 color channels in visible light with a resolution of 2048×2048 pixels, which is made by using many beautiful gif-OK according to the rotation of the Earth and moon passage in front of it (photo 9 MB).

A list of current and planned NASA missions to study solar-terrestrial relations.

Жизнь со звездой

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