Solar-C - The Next Solar Space Mission
Solar-C is the next space mission to be proposed by the Japanese and international solar community to the Space Agency of Japan (JAXA). Solar-C aims at exploring the physics of the Sun, and confronts new challenges revealed by the currently operating Hinode (Solar-B) and other missions such as the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO), the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and the Solar Terrestrial Relation Observatory (STEREO).
The mission science goals, according to the Solar-C interim report, can be summarized as:
- How are elementary atmospheric structures created and how do they evolve in each temperature domain of the atmosphere?
- How is energy transported through small elementary structures into the large scale corona and how does it drive the solar wind?
- How is magnetic energy dissipated in astrophysical plasmas?
- How do small-scale physical processes initiate large-scale dynamic phenomena creating space weather?
These science goals will be achieved by a suite of three instruments.
- A Solar Ultraviolet, Visible, and Infrared Telescope (SUVIT) for spectropolarimetry of the photosphere and chromosphere of the Sun. With a diameter of 1.5 m, it will be the largest solar telescope to fly in space by a factor of 9 in collecting area.
- An X-ray or extreme-ultraviolet imaging telescope (XIT) that will observe the corona at unprecedented spatial resolution.
- The LEMUR Extreme UltraViolet Spectroscopic Telescope (EUVST) with a resolution and effective area an order of magnitude higher than currently available for solar studies.
This set of instruments will allow studying the solar atmosphere as an integrated system by establishing the dynamical coupling between its various temperature regions (e.g., by following the flow of mass and energy from the photosphere to the corona).
Instruments with MPS contributions:
LEMUR/EUVST: A two-element optics design (as for the EIS/Hinode and SPICE/Solar orbiter spectrometers), the absence of an entrance filter, optimized broad-band multilayer coatings for the optics and intensified cameras for the long wavelength bands yield the unprecedented throughput that is needed for high spatial and temporal spectroscopy. The instrument records spectra simultaneously over four wavelength ranges from the EUV to the FUV.
|LW-2||925-1085 Å (2nd order: 463-542 Å)|
|LW-3||1115-1275 Å (2nd order: 557-637 Å)|
MPS has played an important role in the definition and development of the EUVST since the early stages of the project. In 2010 an international team lead by the MPS proposed that ESA provide the EUVST as a European contribution to Solar-C under the name of LEMUR. The proposal has received a positive evaluation by the ESA advisory structure. The MPS goal is to provide PI-ship and relevant subsystems.
SUVIT: It is a 1.5 m Gregory-Telescope achieving a resolution of about 70 km. Its focal plane instrumentation includes a broad-band and a narrow-band imager (filtergraph). It also includes a spectropolarimeter.
The MPS goal is to develop and build key components of the spectropolarimeter such as the grating and detectors.