24 maggio 2006
All’incontro dello Science Programme Committee (SPC) tenutosi il 15 e 16 maggio, è stata approvata un’estensione della missione di SOHO, portando il termine della missione dall’aprile 2007 al dicembre 2009.
Dal momento del lancio, avvenuto il 2 dicembre 1995, il Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) ha fornito una vista senza precedente del sole. Due team hanno ora sviluppato delle tecniche con le quali sarà possibile usare SOHO per studiare il lato opposto del Sole.
SOHO Mission Extension
European Space Agency
24 May 2006
At the Science Programme Committee (SPC) meeting on 15-16 May, an
extension of the SOHO mission was approved, pushing back the mission
end date from April 2007 to December 2009. The new funding ensures that
SOHO plays a leading part in the fleet of solar spacecraft scheduled for launch over the next few years.
Since its launch on 2 December 1995, The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has provided an unprecedented view of the Sun - and not just the side facing the Earth. Two teams have now developed techniques for using SOHO to study the conditions on the far side of
After a ten-year lifetime in space, SOHO continues to perform well,
monitoring the activity on the Sun and also allowing scientists to see
inside the Sun by recording the seismic waves that ripple across its
More than 2300 scientists have used data from the solar observatory to
forward their research, publishing over 2400 scientific papers in
peer-reviewed journals. During the last two years, at least one SOHO
paper has been accepted for publication every working day.
During the next two years, five new solar spacecraft will join SOHO in
orbit. ESA is involved in two of these spacecraft. The Japan
Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA) has built Solar B, which is scheduled for launch later this year. ESA will supply the use of a ground station at Svalbard, Norway in exchange for access to the data.
Next year, ESA will launch Proba-2, a technology demonstration satellite that carries solar dedicated instruments. In particular, it will carry
a complementary instrument to SOHO’s EIT camera. Whilst EIT
concentrates on the origin and early development of solar eruptions,
Proba-2’s camera will be able to track them into space.
NASA plans to launch the STEREO pair of spacecraft later this year, and
the Solar Dynamics Orbiter in 2008. Far from making SOHO obsolete,
these new solar satellites embrace it as a crucial member of the team.
SOHO will provide a critical third point of view to assist the analysis
of STEREO’s observations. Also, SOHO’s coronagraph will remain unique.
The instrument is capable of blotting out the glare from the solar
disk so that the tenuous outer atmosphere of the Sun becomes visible
This fleet of spacecraft will advance the International Living With a
Star programme (ILWS), an international collaboration of scientists
dedicated to a long-term study of the Sun and its effects on Earth and
the other solar system planets.
ILWS will possibly culminate in the launch of the advanced ESA
satellite, Solar Orbiter, around 2015. It is designed to orbit close
to the Sun, to gain a close-up look at the powerful processes at the heart
of our Solar System.