Works in progress!...


Underneath a few highlights of projects, important for solar and space weather monitoring and research, that are in the process of being tested on ground or in space.


Solar Orbiter's EUI
Late February (see this news item), we reported already on the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager being put together at the CSL (Centre Spatial de Liège, Belgium). Two months later, not only is this instrument fully assembled, it has also been aligned, thermal-vacuum tested, and has undergone an extensive vibration testing ("Shaken, not stirred"). Last week, it has been shipped to PTB (Physikalisch-technische Bundesanstalt) for final calibration at a synchrotron source (particle accelerator). The final issues are being addressed and the instrument is ready for its scheduled delivery to ESA in May. EUI is an instrument that will be onboard the ESA space mission Solar Orbiter, which is scheduled for launch in February 2019.

No, a UFO has not landed next to the ROB's canteen. This is actually a radio telescope and part of the SPADE project (funded by BELSPO, through a BRAIN-BE grant). SPADE stands for Small Phased Array DEmonstrator and is aimed at observing the Sun. It will produce dynamic spectra of the Sun between 20 and 80 MHz with high sensitivity. An array consisting of eight of these low-cost radio telescopes will be deployed at the radio astronomy station of Humain, near Marche-en-Famenne (Belgium). But first of course, the instrument has to be tested, which is what the folks at the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) are currently doing.

Last week, we reported on an impressive C5 solar eruption (see this news item). The Solar Ultraviolet Imager onboard the GOES-16 satellite (SUVI, see this news item) is still in its in-orbit testing phase, but was fortunate to observe the Sun at the time of the dramatic flare. It provides a view on the opening, then closing of the magnetic field loops, and the development of the post-flare coronal loops. More movies in different passbands are at the GOES-16 webpage. GOES-16 was launched on 19 November 2016, with SUVI making its first images on 29 January 2017.




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