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11 February 2003 EUV Solar Spectroscopic Explorer (ESSEX): Mission Concept for a Next Generation Imaging Spectrograph
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We discuss a mission concept (ESSEX) for probing energy and mass transport in the solar atmosphere. The primary instrument on ESSEX is a high-speed EUV imaging spectrograph designed to extract plasma diagnostics from the small-scale, rapidly varying events that are thought to heat the solar atmosphere. We argue that spectral resolution is required to determine the physics that underlies the spectacular solar coronal images returned by TRACE and other EUV imaging telescopes. Previous and current spectrographs are severely limited in time resolution, and we present two rapid imaging spectrograph designs that are optimized for different tasks: the ESSEX spectrograph, intended as a pure science instrument to identify the physical mechanisms of energy and mass transport in generic solar features; and a synoptic spectrograph, intended as an operational instrument to quantify momentum and energy release in coronal mass ejections and filament liftoff events. If flown, ESSEX will provide high cadence observations required to trace the flow of energy through reconnection and wave motion in the solar atmosphere. It will achieve sub-arcsecond resolution in the transition region and corona with both spectroscopy and imaging over a continuous temperature range from 10,000 K to 10 million K, and will sample chromospheric wave motion at frequencies over 100 Hz.
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Donald M. Hassler, Craig E. DeForest, and David C. Slater "EUV Solar Spectroscopic Explorer (ESSEX): Mission Concept for a Next Generation Imaging Spectrograph", Proc. SPIE 4853, Innovative Telescopes and Instrumentation for Solar Astrophysics, (11 February 2003);


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