NASA and SOHO

5.05.2014 Simon Bradley
The SOlar and Heliopheric Observatory (SOHO) is a spacecraft that was built by European companies. It was launched in 1995 with its main purpose being to study the outer layer of the Sun. It is also mandated with making observation of the solar winds and also to probe the interior structure of the Sun.

Gyroscopic systems, orientation and navigational systems on SOHO

The SOHO spacecraft is located in halo orbit. This is a point between the Earth and the Sun where the gravity of the Sun and the Earth are equal, the point is called un-Earth L1 point. SOHO at this point is able to balance because it is in its own orbit around the Sun. Although SOHO is described as being at L1, it is not placed exactly at L1 because communication from SOHO to the Earth would be interfered with by the radio activities from the Sun. It is therefore placed in a constantly moving plane that is at right angles to the line connecting the Earth and the Sun where it orbits L1 every six months. This helps in making communication from SOHO to the Earth a success all the time.

Instruments and data formats

Payload Module of the SOHO consists of twelve instruments that are capable of making independent or coordinated observations of the Sun and also to some parts of the spacecraft.

Some of the instruments include;

Coronal Diagnostic spectrometer. This instrument measures temperature, density and flow in the corona.
Charge Element and Isotope Analysis System. It studies the ion conformation of the solar wind.
Comprehensive SupraThermal and Energetic Particle analyzer collaboration.
Energetic and Relativistic Nuclei and Electron experiment.
UltraViolet Coronagraph Spectrometer.
Solar Wind ANisotropies (SWAN)
All the data collected from this spacecraft is passed to the world in as infrared or digital images.

Data transformation

Data from the instruments is transformed into photographs and digital images that are easy to interpret. Others that are of larger wave lengths are printed using artificial colors.

Deep space network

The deep space network is a network of large antennas and other communication facilities. This network supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and also performs radio and radar astronomy.

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