Major Contributions

Science Drivers

Instrument Parameters

Instrument Location

Major Players

Project Funding


Design Concept



  • October 6, 1990 - The Shuttle Discovery launches the Ulysses spacecraft, an observatory that orbits outside of the ecliptic in such a path that allows it to be the first instrument to study the Sun's heliosphere at high Solar latitudes (up to +/- 70 degrees). The instrument aims to characterize the heliosphere as a function of solar latitude.
  • Mid 1994 - The Bruny Island Radio Spectrometer (BIRS), developed by Bill Erickson, begins operation. Dr. Erickson ambitiously took on the challenge of observing solar radio bursts below 20 MHz, requiring a significant effort at mitigating the effects of terrestrial interference in that much-used band. In addition, the location of the spectrograph in Tasmania, Australia is a particularly good environment for observing radiation at low frequencies since the ionospheric cutoff frequency is unusually low there.
  • November 1, 1994 - NASA launches the (WIND) spacecraft, which makes use of a suite of nine instruments to study the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere, and the energetic particles and processes in the interplanetary plasma between the Earth and the Sun.
  • Dec 2, 1995 - NASA and the ESA launch the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) from Cape Canaveral, a satellite containing 12 sets of instruments for studying various features of the Sun including the solar wind and the Sun's changing magnetic fields. SOHO images the Sun in the ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet.
  • August 25, 1997 - NASA launches the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), a satellite composed of 6 high resolution sensors and various other instruments to investigate the isotopic and elemental composition of the Sun's corona, the interstellar and interplanetary medium, and the larger arena of galactic matter. The goal is to glean a deeper understanding of our Solar System's formation and evolution and the external astrophysical processes that spurred that evolution.
  • April 2, 1998 - NASA launches the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) spacecraft, intended to shed light on the physical processes that cause the dramatic environment shift between the cool (6000 K) photosphere and the extremely hot (10,000,000 K) corona by collecting high spatial and temporal resolution data of that region. Of particular interest is magnetic field dynamics in the region.
  • February 5, 2002 - NASA launches the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), with the objective of studying particle acceleration in solar flares and its relation to heating of the solar corona. RHESSI will achieve high resolution imaging and spectroscopy of flares with energies from 3 keV (X-rays) to 17 MeV (gamma rays).
Modified on Friday, 21-Apr-2006 01:40:40 EDT