Studies of the sun are carried out in the gamma-ray, x-ray, EUV/UV and visible portions of the spectrum from space observatories (Hinode, RHESSI, SOHO, STEREO, TRACE) sounding rockets (SERTS/EUNIS) and the ground (NSO).
Solar physics research includes studies of solar active regions, the solar corona, solar eruptions and the science of space weather, helioseismology and photospheric magnetic fields. Missions under development include the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Missions under study include NEXUS (Davila, PI), an investigation of coronal dynamics; and SHARPI (Rabin, PI), a high resolution solar imaging mission.
Artist's conception of the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) in orbit. The RHESSI mission combines, for the first time, high-resolution imaging in hard X-rays and gamma rays with high-resolution spectroscopy, so that a detailed energy spectrum can be obtained at each point of the image. Brian Dennis (671) is the Mission Scientist and Lead co-I. The PI is Robert Lin at UC Berkeley.
The picture at the left is an EUV (195 Angstrom) image of the Sun obtained by SOHO on Dec 23, 2002. SOHO is a joint NASA-ESA mission launched in 1995. NASA is responsible for mission operations, and they are carried out at GSFC. Scientists from the Solar Physics Laboratory carry out scientific planning and operations. Joe Gurman (671) is the NASA Project Scientist and Terry Kucera (671) is Deputy Project Scientist.
Shown at right is a launch of SERTS (Solar Extreme-Ultraviolet Research Telescope and Spectrograph). SERTS has been an extremely successful program in LASP to study the Sun, test out new instruments for future Explorer missions, and to train students in hands-on astronomy. SERTS was developed by Roger Thomas, Joe Davila, Larry Orwig, Joe Novello and Dave Linard. SERTS has been superseded by the Extreme Ultraviolet Normal Incidence Spectrograph (EUNIS), which has a 100-fold improvement in sensitivity. The EUNIS Principal Investigator is Doug Rabin (671).