Group members: Michela Uslenghi, Mauro Fiorini, Salvatore Incorvaia
Solar Orbiter will perform in-situ measurements of the solar wind plasma, fields, waves, and energetic particles in a region where they are still relatively unaltered and have not had their properties modified by dynamical evolution during their propagation. Moreover, remote-sensing instrumentation will carry out simultaneous, high-resolution imaging and spectroscopic observations both in and out of the ecliptic plane, allowing connecting the in-situ measurements back to their source regions and structures. In fact, one of the crucial characteristics of Solar Orbiter will be its orbit, which will allow close-up study of the Sun and of its polar regions. In fact, much of the crucial physics in the formation and activity of the heliosphere takes place close to the Sun and when structures, shocks, energetic particles and solar wind reach the Earth orbit they have already evolved, and in many cases mixed so as to blur or even cancel the signatures of their origin.
IASF - Milano is involved in the design of one of the remote-sensing instruments: METIS, the Multi Element Telescope for Imaging and Spectroscopy, an innovative coronagraph for the study and overall characterization of the solar corona. The activities are mainly focused on the detectors (an hybrid Active Pixel Sensor Teledyne HyVISI H2RG for the visible channel and an Intensified Active Pixel Sensor working both in photon counting and in analog mode for the UV imaging and spectroscopy), in details:
analysis of the science requirements and definition of the architecture design for the UV and visible detector
study of the expected performance of the detectors
support to the preparation of the specifications documents of the detectors subsystem and supervision of the industrial activity
development of the software for detectors simulation
support to planning of the Assembly Integration & Test and Calibration activities
contribution to the definition of the on-board pre-processing algorithms
support for ESA reviews
development and characterization of a prototype of the UV detector
METIS is currently in phase B2, with phase C/D starting at the beginning of 2013.