Monochromatic images of an active region in spectral lines of iron ions formed at different temperatures.  EIS can act like a remote sensing thermometer.
Monochromatic images of an active region in spectral lines of iron ions formed at different temperatures. EIS can act like a remote sensing thermometer.

Objective
Measure the physical conditions such as temperature, density, and dynamics in solar active regions and flares. Determine the physical mechanisms responsible for generating erupting prominences, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
Solar flares and CMEs are the most energetic phenomena in the solar system and are major drivers of geomagnetic space weather storms that adversely affect ISR, precision engagement, missile detection and intercept, Comms on the Move, spacecraft anomaly assessment, orbital tracking, polar flight activities, the power grid, and ionosphere variations.

Approach
EIS: An advanced state-of-the-art extreme-ultraviolet spectrometer on the Japanese (Solar-B) Hinode spacecraft

  • NRL is the EIS PI institution for NASA; EIS was built by an international consortium (US, UK, Japan, Norway) lead by the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in the UK
  • EIS builds on the successful NRL/UK/Japan X-ray spectrometers on the Japanese Yohkoh (Solar-A) mission and on long-standing solar spectroscopy expertise at NRL

Hinode Mission: September 2006 Launch - present

  • Hinode consists of three instruments: the EIS, a white light telescope and an X-ray telescope. The goal of Hinode is to understand the formation and evolution of the solar atmosphere

Deliverable/Value/Accomplishment

  • NRL delivered to NASA the EIS optics with mounts and motor mechanisms, aluminum filters, shutter and slit assembly, and the mechanism and heater control flight electronics and software
  • NRL participated in scientific design and is currently participating in mission operations, data analysis, and software development
  • EIS has discovered flows from active regions that might constitute part of the solar wind impacting Earth. The measured parameters in active regions are allowing detailed tests of active region heating models

  • Left: Solar explosions that adversely affect the Earth’s environment occur in solar active regions. Measuring physical conditions in active regions, with a goal of quantitative understanding of solar explosions, is key for long range prediction. EIS data are also of great value for validating computer codes such as HYPERION that simulate active regions and coronal loops.