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26 September 2013 The solar and heliospheric imager (SoloHI) instrument for the solar orbiter mission
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The SoloHI instrument for the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission will track density fluctuations in the inner heliosphere, by observing visible sunlight scattered by electrons in the solar wind. Fluctuations are associated with dynamic events such as coronal mass ejections, but also with the “quiescent” solar wind. SoloHI will provide the crucial link between the low corona observations from the Solar Orbiter instruments and the in-situ measurements on Solar Orbiter and the Solar Probe Plus missions. The instrument is a visible-light telescope, based on the SECCHI/Heliospheric Imager (HI) currently flying on the STEREO mission. In this concept, a series of baffles reduce the scattered light from the solar disk and reflections from the spacecraft to levels below the scene brightness, typically by a factor of 1012. The fluctuations are imposed against a much brighter signal produced by light scattered by dust particles (the zodiacal light/F-corona). Multiple images are obtained over a period of several minutes and are summed on-board to increase the signal-to-noise ratio and to reduce the telemetry load. SoloHI is a single telescope with a 40⁰ field of view beginning at 5° from the Sun center. Through a series of Venus gravity assists, the minimum perihelia for Solar Orbiter will be reduced to about 60 Rsun (0.28 AU), and the inclination of the orbital plane will be increased to a maximum of 35° after the 7 year mission. The CMOS/APS detector is a mosaic of four 2048 x 1930 pixel arrays, each 2-side buttable with 11 μm pixels.
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