Запуск запланирован на 27.6.2013 (UTC)
KSC-2012-2831 (05/11/2012) --- Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. - At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, technicians offload the first stage of the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket from the truck in which it was transported. NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, spacecraft will launch aboard the Pegasus XL in late 2012. IRIS will open a new window of discovery by tracing the flow of energy and plasma through the chromospheres and transition region into the sun's corona using spectrometry and imaging. IRIS fills a crucial gap in our ability to advance studies of the sun-to-Earth connection by tracing the flow of energy and plasma through the foundation of the corona and heliosphere, or region around the sun. Photo credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
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Уже 27 февраля.
ЦитатаTechnicians Continue Prepping for IRIS Launch
Thu, 27 Sep 2012 04:34:38 PM GMT+0300
Preparations continue at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to prepare the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket for the launch of NASA's IRIS spacecraft. On September 26, the avionics shelf, the primary element of the launch vehicle guidance system was installed on the rocket's third stage. The launch of IRIS, which stands for the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph and will conduct solar studies, is currently planned to occur no earlier than February 27, 2013.
IRIS Mission Preps Move Ahead
Tue, 30 Oct 2012 03:56:23 PM GMT+0200
Preparations to launch NASA's IRIS mission aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket continue on pace for a launch in the spring from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Telemetry system testing with the launch vehicle has been completed and the guidance and navigation system is being installed this week. Also, technicians are installing the springs associated with the stage 1 separation mechanism. The first launch vehicle flight simulation is currently planned to occur in early November.
Flight Simulation for IRIS Planned
Fri, 09 Nov 2012 11:07:27 PM GMT+0200
A flight simulation for the launch of the IRIS mission aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket is scheduled to begin today at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in preparation for the mission's launch in late February. The rocket's inertial navigation system was installed onto the vehicle earlier this week.
IRIS Launch Vehicle Processing Continues for Spring Launch
Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:40:55 PM GMT+0200
At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, processing work continues on the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket for the launch of NASA's IRIS spacecraft next spring. The UHF communications antenna has been installed. A C-band transponder test between the launch vehicle and the Western Range was successfully completed.
05:25:26-05:30:26 ЛМВ 30 апреля 2013.
Запуск запланирован на 23.6.2013
ЦитатаNASA'S Newest Solar Satellite Arrives at Vandenberg AFB for Launch
NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday, April 16, to begin its final preparations for launch currently scheduled no earlier than May 28. IRIS will improve our understanding of how heat and energy move through the deepest levels of the sun's atmosphere, thereby increasing our ability to forecast space weather. Following final checkouts, the IRIS spacecraft will be placed inside an Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket. Deployment of the Pegasus fr om the L-1011 carrier aircraft is targeted for 7:27 p.m. PDT at an altitude of 39,000 feet at a location over the Pacific Ocean about 100 miles northwest of Vandenberg AFB off the central coast of California south of Big Sur.
"IRIS will contribute significantly to our understanding of the interface region between the sun's photosphere and corona," said Joe Davila, IRIS mission scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This region is crucial for understanding how the corona gets so hot."
IRIS carries a single instrument, a multi-channel imaging spectrograph with an ultraviolet (UV) telescope that will help scientists better understand the physical processes in the sun's interface region.
"With the high-resolution images from IRIS, scientists will be able to use advanced computer models to unravel how matter, light, and energy move from the sun's 6,000 Kelvin surface to its million Kelvin corona," said Eric Ianson, IRIS mission manager at NASA Goddard. "Scientists will be able to combine data from NASA's IRIS and Solar Dynamics Observatory and the NASA/JAXA Hinode missions to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the sun's atmosphere."
IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer mission. The program provides frequent flight opportunities for world-class scientific investigations from space using innovative, streamlined and efficient management approaches within the heliophysics and astrophysics areas.
NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., is responsible for launch management. Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Center Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif., designed and built the IRIS spacecraft and instrument. NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., is responsible for mission operations and ground data systems.
For more information about NASA's IRIS mission, please visit:
Workers unload NASA's IRIS spacecraft from a truck at the processing facility at Vandenberg wh ere the spacecraft will be readied for launch aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket. Photo credit: VAFB/Randy Beaudoin
ЦитатаSun probe arrives at launch site for mating to booster
BY JUSTIN RAY
Posted: April 23, 2013
A solar observatory designed to study how the Sun's atmosphere is energized has been trucked to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the ground base where the air-launched Pegasus rocket booster will be readied to propel the NASA satellite into orbit in June.
IRIS arrives at the hangar. Credit: VAFB/Randy Beaudoin
The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph spacecraft, or IRIS, was developed by the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center. It is outfitted with an ultraviolet telescope and spectrograph to help scientists understand a mystery about the Sun's working forces.
"IRIS will contribute significantly to our understanding of the interface region between the sun's photosphere and corona," said Joe Davila, IRIS mission scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "This region is crucial for understanding how the corona gets so hot."
The highly-focused science mission promises to close the knowledge gap about energy transport on the Sun by following the flow of energy and plasma between the surface and the solar corona.
"With the high-resolution images from IRIS, scientists will be able to use advanced computer models to unravel how matter, light and energy move from the sun's 6,000 Kelvin surface to its million Kelvin corona," said Eric Ianson, IRIS mission manager. "Scientists will be able to combine data from NASA's IRIS and Solar Dynamics Observatory and the NASA/JAXA Hinode missions to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the sun's atmosphere."
After departing from the runway at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on June 26, an L-1011 carrier jet will haul the winged rocket over the Pacific Ocean and release it at 7:27 p.m. local time (10:27 p.m. EDT).
The IRIS spacecraft, weighing about 440 pounds and stretching 7 feet in length, is ideally sized for the Pegasus launch that will be making its 42nd flight. Its heritage includes deploying over 70 satellites since 1990 for NASA, commercial customers and the U.S. military.
Lockheed Martin shipped the satellite from its Sunnyvale manufacturing facilities to Vandenberg on April 16, traveling about 250 miles.
"The entire IRIS team is enormously pleased that we've reached this crucial milestone," said Gary Kushner, Lockheed Martin IRIS program manager. "After many months of hard work by the Lockheed Martin team and all of our collaborators and subcontractors in designing, engineering, building and testing the instrument and integrated spacecraft, our goal of putting it into orbit is in sight and we look forward to producing great science at a low cost."
Once in the Pegasus hangar, IRIS was powered up, put through post-shipment functional testing and changing of the onboard battery. Activities this week include instrument and spacecraft system-level testing.
IRIS will be mated to the Pegasus about 25 days before launch, then the two halves of of the rocket nose cone will be stalled 12 days ahead of the flight. The fully assembled rocket will be rolled on a trailer out to the runway for attachment to the L-1011 carrier aircraft just a few days prior to takeoff.
Commissioning of the observatory should be finished and the start of science operations begins a month into the mission.
"With IRIS, we have a unique opportunity to provide significant missing pieces in our understanding of energy transport on the Sun. The complex processes and enormous contrasts of density, temperature and magnetic field within this interface region require instrument and modeling capabilities that are now finally within our reach," said Alan Title, IRIS principal investigator.
NASA's IRIS Mission Readies For a New Challenge
The time draws near. NASA is getting ready to launch a new mission, a mission to observe a largely unexplored region of the solar atmosphere that powers its dynamic million-degree outer atmosphere and drives the solar wind.
In late June 2013, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, will launch fr om Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. IRIS will advance our understanding of the interface region, a region in the lower atmosphere of the sun wh ere most of the sun's ultraviolet emissions are generated. Such emissions impact the near-Earth space environment and Earth's climate.
The interface region lies between the sun's 11,000-degree Fahrenheit, white-hot, visible surface, the photosphere, and the much hotter multi-million-degree upper corona. Interactions between the violently moving plasma and the sun's magnetic field in this area may be the source of the energy that heats the corona to some hundreds and occasionally thousands of times hotter than the sun's surface.
IRIS will orbit Earth and use its ultraviolet telescope to obtain high-resolution solar images and spectra. IRIS observations along with advanced computer models will deepen our understanding of how heat and energy move through the lower atmosphere of the sun and other sun-like stars.
ЦитатаIRIS Flight Simulation Coming Up
Tue, 28 May 2013 10:42:29 PM GMT+0300
The IRIS-Pegasus launch team is preparing for its fourth flight simulation as the launch date nears for NASA's newest solar observatory. After performing an Interface Verification Test, engineers re-verified the spacecraft ahead of the upcoming simulation. The spacecraft, a seven-foot-long observatory designed to look closely at the sun's chromosphere, will ride into space on an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket. The winged rocket will drop fr om a modified airliner above the Pacific to begin the ascent into orbit. Launch is scheduled for June 26.
IRIS Flight Sim Under Way
Fri, 17 May 2013 09:32:29 PM GMT+0300
The third flight simulation for NASA's IRIS mission is under way today at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., wh ere the launch of the sun-studying observatory will take place in June. The IRIS spacecraft, a 7-foot-long telescope built to examine aspects of the sun's layers in unprecedented ways, will be mated to a Pegasus XL rocket May 29 and the fourth flight simulation will follow two days later. June 10 is slated for the start of installation of the payload fairing around the spacecraft that will protect its instruments and components from the atmospheric stress of ascent into orbit. The Pegasus, a winged rocket that drops from beneath a modified airliner before igniting its engine and lifting its payload into orbit, is to launch IRIS into space June 26.
Prelaunch Testing Continues for IRIS and Pegasus
Thu, 16 May 2013 10:30:39 PM GMT+0300
At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the second planned electrical Interface Verification Test is taking place today between NASA's IRIS observatory and the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL vehicle. Mission simulations between the observatory and the mission operations control center at the NASA Ames Research Center began May 9 and were successfully completed May 15.
Flight Simulation no. 3 involving the Pegasus XL and IRIS is scheduled for May 17.
IRIS Mission Simulations Under Way
Fri, 10 May 2013 08:48:31 PM GMT+0300
Mission simulations for NASA's IRIS mission are under way at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The simulations, which will continue through May 15, involve the IRIS spacecraft and the mission operations control center located at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Launch preparations continue on schedule toward a launch June 26 at 7:27 p.m. PDT.
ЦитатаWEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013
The Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket was attached to the L-1011 carrier jet that will ferry the launcher off the coast of California next Wednesday evening and release the 55-foot-long booster to fire into orbit. Technicians rolled the rocket horizontally from its assembly hangar today at 6 a.m., arriving at 7:20 a.m. on the "Hot Pad" staging area next to the runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. There, the 51,000-pound rocket was secured to the belly of the L-1011 by hydraulic hooks, an operation that was completed at 1:30 p.m. local time.
Senior mission managers held the Flight Readiness Review on Tuesday and gave approval for the rollout and continued pre-launch preparations.
The Combined Systems Test to verify the entire launch configuration will be run on Thursday. The checkout will confirm the Pegasus, its payload and the L-1011 are flight-ready.
Next Wednesday's launch of the Pegasus will be possible during a precise window extending from 7:25:04 to 7:30:04 p.m. local (10:25:04-10:30:04 p.m. EDT).
The launch team is targeting the middle of the window -- 7:27 p.m. -- for the drop and ignition to put NASA's IRIS solar observatory into its desired sun-synchronous polar orbit around Earth.
The L-1011 flight crew will receive a verbal "go" command from the ground, then push the button on the center console in the cockpit that releases the three-stage, all-solid rocket to free-fall for five seconds before the first stage motor lights.
The preliminary weather outlook for next week is favorable.
MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013
The winged Pegasus XL rocket will be rolled from its hangar and mated to the belly of the L-1011 carrier aircraft this week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in preparation for a dramatic mid-air launch over the Pacific on June 26. The three-stage, all-solid booster will propel NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph spacecraft, or IRIS, into orbit to study how the sun's atmosphere is energized.
Assembly and testing of the Orbital Sciences rocket was conducted in Building 1555, a large hangar on North Base at Vandenberg. IRIS arrived from Lockheed Martin in mid-April and underwent its final processing within a tented area in front of the launcher.
The 7-foot-long spacecraft was mated to the Pegasus at the end of May and then encapsulated by the two halves of the rocket's nose cone last week.
The finished product -- a 51,000-pound rocket with its iconic wing, rudder and fins -- will be rolled out Wednesday for the 3.8-mile drive to Vandenberg's runway to join the L-1011. The carrier jet flew in to pick up Pegasus last week.
With the aircraft jacked up, the trailer hauling the rocket will be able to slide underneath. Ground crews then hoist Pegasus and firmly lock it into place with hydraulic hooks that release the vehicle at launch.
As the final days before flight progress, a comprehensive combined systems test between all of the elements will be run, readiness reviews held and engineers button up the various vehicle compartments.
On June 26, launch day, the L-1011 will depart Vandenberg's runway around 6:30 p.m. local (9:30 p.m. EDT) and fly a pre-determine "race track" pattern northward over the open ocean before making a U-turn and achieving a southerly heading for drop and ignition of the Pegasus at approximately 7:27 p.m. PDT (10:27 p.m. EDT).
It will take approximately 13 minutes to inject IRIS into the desired sun-synchronous polar orbit and release the craft from the launch vehicle.
Weighing 403 pounds, the spacecraft is ideally sized for the Pegasus launch that will be making its 42nd flight. Its heritage includes deploying over 70 satellites since 1990 for NASA, commercial customers and the U.S. military.
IRIS will unfold its twin power-generating solar panels and begin the on-orbit checkout and commissioning period. The two-year mission goes into service about 60 days after launch to observe a mysterious region around the sun, between its surface and the thousand-times-hotter upper atmosphere, known as the corna.
"IRIS will extend our observations of the sun to a region that has historically been difficult to study," said Joe Davila, IRIS project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Understanding the interface region better improves our understanding of the whole corona and, in turn, how it affects the solar system."
IRIS Preps for Launch
ЦитатаNASA launch director Dunn says a power outage at Vandenberg will delay the planned June 26 #Pegasus launch. New launch date June 27
ЦитатаPegasus rocket readied for NASA satellite launch
The Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket is being readied to launch NASA's IRIS spacecraft to study the sun off the coast of California. Photographers and reporters got to tour the "Hot Pad" adjacent to the runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base where the L-1011 carrier jet and booster are being preparing for the mission. The aircraft will ferry Pegasus over the Pacific and drop the winged booster to fire into orbit.
See our Mission Status Center (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/pegasus/iris/status.html) for the latest news on the launch.
Photo credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
ЦитатаWEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013
After a one-day delay to complete repairs to the electrical system feeding key facilities at the Western Range, officials today cleared the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket to launch NASA's IRIS sun-studying satellite on Thursday evening off the coast of California.
Senior mission managers held the Launch Readiness Review, confirmed the Range would be up to support and granted approval to enter into the countdown tomorrow afternoon at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Launch is scheduled for 7:27 p.m. PDT (10:27 p.m. EDT).
When power was restored to the base after a region-wide power outage late Sunday, a fire broke out and damaged a piece of hardware in the electrical grid that supplies several buildings. A replacement part was being fabricated in Los Angeles for delivery to Vandenberg late Tuesday. Checks of the Range were being performed today.
Under the control of pilot Don Walter, the modified L-1011 carrier aircraft with Pegasus hooked to its belly should be airborne about an hour before launch for the trip to the rocket's pre-set drop point over the Pacific Ocean about 100 miles northwest of Vandenberg, west of Monterey. The launch box is 10 miles wide and 40 miles long and the targeted drop point located at 36 degrees North latitude and 123 degrees West longitude.
The available launch window extends from 7:25 to 7:30 p.m. local (10:25-10:30 p.m. EDT; 0225-0230 GMT).
The rocket was assembled at Vandenberg and the Western Range will track its ascent for telemetry-relay and safety services.
Weather forecasters predict an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions. Cloud ceilings and reduced visibility pose only slight concerns.
With the push of a button in the Stargazer's cockpit by co-pilot Ebb Harris, the 51,000-pound Pegasus rocket is cast free to fall for five seconds, dropping 300 feet below the aircraft while traveling at Mach 0.82. During the plunge, the onboard flight computer will sense the rocket's separation from the carrier jet and issue a command to release the safety inhibits in preparation for ignition.
The first stage solid-fueled motor of Pegasus is lit at T+plus 5 seconds to begin the powered journey to orbit on a southerly heading into a sun-synchronous polar orbit desired by IRIS.
At T+plus 1 minute, 18 seconds, the Orion 50S XL first stage motor consumes all of its solid-fuel propellant and burns out at an altitude of 33 miles. A short ballistic coast period begins before the spent first stage, including the wing structure, is separated at T+plus 1 minute, 33 seconds to fall into the Pacific.
The Pegasus rocket's Orion 50 XL second stage begins firing at T+plus 1 minute, 34 seconds to continue the trek to orbit. During the firing, at T+plus 2 minutes, 11 seconds, the payload fairing nose cone that protected the satellite during atmospheric ascent is jettisoned at an altitude of 73 miles.
Having consumed its supply of solid-fuel propellant, the second stage motor burns out at T+plus 2 minutes, 48 seconds some 117 miles in altitude. The rocket will coast for a few minutes toward the high point of its trajectory before releasing the spent stage at T+plus 8 minutes, 47 seconds.
The solid-fueled Orion 38 third stage ignites at T+plus 8 minutes, 58 seconds to deliver the IRIS spacecraft into a 420-by-385-mile-high orbit around Earth. That orbit is achieved with burnout of the third stage at T+plus 10 minutes, 6 seconds, completing the powered phase of the Pegasus rocket's 42nd launch for the winged booster since 1990.
Deployment of the 403-pound satellite occurs at T+plus 13 minutes, 8 seconds.
Так уже летим! NASA TV показывает.
Бурные аплодисменты. Взаимные поздравления.
Ракета с солнечным телескопом IRIS стартовала над Тихим океаном
Ракета Pegasus XL с новым солнечным телескопом IRIS успешно запущена с "воздушного старта" над Тихим океаном, трансляция запуска идет на сайте НАСА.
Самолет-носитель L-1011 Stargazer ("Звездочет") вылетел с авиабазы Ванденберг в Калифорнии в точку запуска ракеты в 05.30 мск. Pegasus XL выведет IRIS на орбиту примерно через 10 минут после запуска, после чего аппарат должен будет раскрыть солнечные батареи. На данный момент это последний из запланированных полетов крылатой ракеты, поскольку пока в графике НАСА больше нет миссий этого класса.
РИА Новости http://ria.ru/science/20130628/946284463.html
Солнечный телескоп IRIS успешно выведен на орбиту
Американский солнечный телескоп IRIS успешно выведен на орбиту в ходе последнего запланированного запуска ракеты Pegasus XL, сообщает НАСА.
РИА Новости http://ria.ru/science/20130628/946285921.html
Lockheed Martin выложила пдфки сюда http://iris.lmsal.com/data.htm
17 July 2013: IRIS first light, followed by instrument and science calibration.
Telescope Door on IRIS Opens
July 17, 2013
In its first major milestone since launch, the IRIS team opened the telescope door on July 17, 2013. The telescope door is the circular white object on the far left of this graphic.
Image Credit: NASA Goddard
Today at 11:14 pm PDT (2:14 pm EDT) the IRIS Lockheed Martin instrument team successfully opened the door on NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, which launched June 27, 2013, aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
A 60-day check out period began at launch. The first 30 days, which ends July 27, consists of tests and spacecraft system checks. The team will use the remaining 30 days for initial observing runs to fine tune instrument observations. If all is nominal, the team plans to begin normal science mode by August 26.
All data will be available to scientists and the public as soon as the mission begins science operations. The team is looking forward to receiving high-resolution images and spectra soon after first light.
Additional mission updates will be provided as warranted.
ЦитатаТелескоп IRIS начинает следить за Солнцем
22 Июля - 11:16
Новенький телескоп IRIS, созданный в НАСА, открыл заслонку своего объектива и начинает слежение за выбросами солнечного вещества. Американские астрофизики возлагают на проект Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph большие надежды и верят в то, что аппарат поможет им построить точную компьютерную модель того, что происходит в атмосфере нашего центрального светила.
Ученых интересуют процессы, проходящие в нижних слоях атмосферы Солнца
Заслуживает внимания сам процесс выведения данного аппарата на орбиту. Данная операция была осуществлена при помощи ракеты-носителя Pegasus, стартовавшей не с обычного космодрома, а с борта специально созданного самолета L-1011 TriStar. Все произошло 27 июня этого года и с тех пор ученые из НАСА осуществляли проверку всех бортовых систем спутника. В настоящее время стартовал второй этап подготовительных работ, заключающийся в настройке самих приборов наблюдения. IRIS начинает следить за Солнцем для того, чтобы откалибровать все наблюдательные системы и подготовить их к 26 августа, когда телескоп и приступит к своей работе.
Ученых интересуют процессы, проходящие в нижних слоях атмосферы Солнца. Все дело в том, что температура в этом районе растет от 6000К в самом низу, и до миллиона градусов в верхних слоях. Понять, какие же процессы приводят к таким контрастам, ученые и собираются при помощи аппарата Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph.
NASA's IRIS Telescope Offers First Glimpse of Sun's Mysterious Atmosphere
July 25, 2013
These two images show a section of the sun as seen by NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, on the right and NASA's SDO on the left. The IRIS image provides scientists with unprecedented detail of the lowest parts of the sun's atmosphere, known as the interface region.
Image Credit: NASA/SDO/IRIS
> View larger (http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/sdo_iris_labels.png)
The moment when a telescope first opens its doors represents the culmination of years of work and planning -- while simultaneously laying the groundwork for a wealth of research and answers yet to come. It is a moment of excitement and perhaps even a little uncertainty. On July 17, 2013, the international team of scientists and engineers who supported and built NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, all lived through that moment. As the spacecraft orbited around Earth, the door of the telescope opened to view the mysterious lowest layers of the sun's atmosphere and the results thus far are nothing short of amazing. The data is crisp and clear, showing unprecedented detail of this little-observed region.
"These beautiful images from IRIS are going to help us understand how the sun's lower atmosphere might power a host of events around the sun," said Adrian Daw, the mission scientist for IRIS at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Anytime you look at something in more detail than has ever been seen before, it opens up new doors to understanding. There's always that potential element of surprise."
As the telescope door opened on July 17, 2013, IRIS's single instrument began to observe the sun in exceptional detail. IRIS's first images showed a multitude of thin, fibril-like structures that have never been seen before, revealing enormous contrasts in density and temperature occur throughout this region even between neighboring loops that are only a few hundred miles apart. The images also show spots that rapidly brighten and dim, which provide clues to how energy is transported and absorbed throughout the region.
The IRIS images of fine structure in the interface region will help scientists track how magnetic energy contributes to heating in the sun's atmosphere. Scientists need to observe the region in exquisite detail, because the energy flowing through it powers the upper layer of the sun's atmosphere, the corona, to temperatures greater than 1 million kelvins (about 1.8 million F), almost a thousand times hotter than the sun's surface itself.
IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer mission that launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on June 27, 2013. IRIS's capabilities are uniquely tailored to unravel the interface region. Understanding the interface region is important because it forms the ultraviolet emission that impacts near-Earth space and Earth's climate. Energy traveling through the region also helps drive the solar wind, which during extreme space weather events near Earth can affect satellites, power grids, and global positioning systems, or GPS.
Designed to research the interface region in more detail than has ever been done before, IRIS's instrument is a combination of an ultraviolet telescope and what's called a spectrograph. Light from the telescope is split into two components. The first provides high-resolution images, capturing data on about one percent of the sun at a time. While these are relatively small snapshots, the images can resolve very fine features, as small as 150 miles across.
While the images are of one wavelength of light at a time, the second component is the spectrograph that provides information about many wavelengths of light at once. The instrument splits the sun's light into its various wavelengths and measures how much of any given wavelength is present. This information is then portrayed on a graph showing spectral "lines." Taller lines correspond to wavelengths in which the sun emits relatively more light. Analysis of the spectral lines can also provide velocity, temperature and density, key information when trying to track how energy and heat moves through the region.
"The quality of images and spectra we are receiving from IRIS is amazing. This is just what we were hoping for," said Alan Title, IRIS principal investigator at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif. "There is much work ahead to understand what we're seeing, but the quality of the data will enable us to do that."
Not only does IRIS provide state-of-the-art observations to look at the interface region, it makes uses of advanced computing to help interpret what it sees. Indeed, interpreting the light flowing out of the interface region could not be done well prior to the advent of today's supercomputers because, in this area of the sun, the transfer and conversion of energy from one form to another is not understood.
The IRIS mission has long-term implications for understanding the genesis of space weather near Earth. Understanding how energy and solar material move through the interface region could help scientists improve forecasts for the kinds of events that can disrupt Earth technologies.
The IRIS Observatory was designed and the mission managed by Lockheed Martin. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., built the telescope. Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. designed the spectrograph. NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., provides mission operations and ground data systems. Goddard manages the Small Explorer Program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. The Norwegian Space Centre is providing regular downlinks of science data. Other contributors include the University of Oslo in Norway and Stanford University in Stanford, Calif.
For more information about the IRIS mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/iris/index.html
ЦитатаPALO ALTO, Calif., July 25, 2013 -The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) observatory, designed and built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT] for NASA, has produced its first images and spectra of a little understood region of the sun through which the energy that supports the Sun's hot corona is transported. IRIS was launched on June 27, 2013, and the front door of the IRIS telescope was opened on July 17.
"The quality of images and spectra we are receiving fr om IRIS is amazing. This is just what we were hoping for," said Dr. Alan Title, IRIS principal investigator and physicist at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center (ATC) Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif. "There is much work ahead to understand what we're seeing, but the quality of the data will enable us to do that."
The IRIS mission has long-term implications for understanding the genesis of solar storms. By tracing the flow of energy and plasma through the interface region - between the solar surface and the solar corona - where most of the sun's ultraviolet emissions are generated, IRIS data will allow scientists to study and model a region of the sun that has yet to reveal its secrets.
"With IRIS, we now have a unique opportunity to provide significant missing pieces in our understanding of energy transport on the sun," said Dr. Alan Title, IRIS principal investigator and physicist at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center (ATC) Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif. "The complex processes and enormous contrasts of density, temperature and magnetic field within this interface region require instrument and modeling capabilities that are now finally within reach."
The evolution of IRIS from concept to space-based solar observatory was remarkably rapid. The contract was awarded to the Lockheed Martin-led IRIS team on June 23, 2009. Four years and four days later, IRIS was in orbit. Just 20 days after launch, engineers in the IRIS Mission Operations Center at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., downlinked the initial images.
"The IRIS mission has been, from inception, an enormous international collaborative development effort," said Title. "Our IRIS team was formed to design the mission and prepare the initial proposal. We have worked together seamlessly ever since."
The IRIS Observatory was designed and the mission managed by the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory of the Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, with contributions from LM Civil Space. The IRIS instrument was integrated to the spacecraft, and observatory testing was performed by an integrated team of engineers from the ATC and Civil Space at the LM Space Systems Sunnyvale facility. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics built the telescope.
In parallel with payload development, there was international collaboration in calculating enormous numerical simulations of the interface region, mostly using models from the University of Oslo. These simulations are key to interpreting the IRIS observations. The University of Oslo and Lockheed Martin also worked together in creating tools for execution of the science mission, enabling scientists to plan observations on the complex and flexible IRIS instrument more easily. Kongsberg Satellite Service under an ESA PRODEX contract with the Norwegian Space Centre captures IRIS data with their antennas in Svalbard, inside the Arctic Circle, in northern Norway.
NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., is responsible for mission operations and the ground data system. The Ames Pleiades supercomputer was used to carry out many of the numerical simulations. IRIS science data is managed by the Joint Science Operations Center of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) - run by Stanford and Lockheed Martin - wh ere scientists can use the same set of tools to access data from IRIS, SDO and Hinode instruments. Montana State University faculty and students assisted in the design of the spectrograph and are involved in IRIS science operations and data analysis. NASA's Kennedy Space Center acquired the Orbital Sciences Corp. Pegasus launch vehicle and managed the Vandenberg launch. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., oversees the Small Explorers program.
Космический телескоп IRIS сделал первые снимки Солнца
Космический солнечный телескоп NASA IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph), выведенный на орбиту 28 июня, сделал первые снимки солнечной атмосферы -- анализ данных показал, что аппарат работает без сбоев, сообщает РИА Новости со ссылкой на американское аэрокосмическое агентство.
На первых изображениях Солнца, которые передал IRIS, видно множество тонких "нитей", которые ранее никогда не наблюдались. Они свидетельствуют о большом разбросе плотностей и температур протуберанцев, которые находятся на расстоянии всего нескольких сотен километров друг от друга. Снимки также зафиксировали пятна, которые быстро вспыхивают и гаснут, отражая процессы переноса энергии в солнечной атмосфере.
"Качество и спектральные характеристики изображений, которые мы получаем с телескопа IRIS, поразительны. Он оправдал наши надежды. Потребуется проделать большую работу, чтобы объяснить, что именно мы видим, но качество данных позволит нам это сделать", -- сказал Алан Тайтл (Alan Title), сотрудник компании Lockheed Martin, участвующий в проекте.
NASA | A First for IRIS: Observing a Gigantic Solar Eruption