Design Considerations for a “Solar Mass Ejection Imager” on a Rotating Spacecraft

  1. J. H. Waite Jr.,
  2. J. L. Burch and
  3. R. L. Moore
  1. B.V. Jackson1,
  2. H.S. Hudson1,
  3. J.D. Nichols1 and
  4. R.E. Gold2

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM054p0291

Solar System Plasma Physics

Solar System Plasma Physics

How to Cite

Jackson, B.V., Hudson, H.S., Nichols, J.D. and Gold, R.E. (1989) Design Considerations for a “Solar Mass Ejection Imager” on a Rotating Spacecraft, in Solar System Plasma Physics (eds J. H. Waite, J. L. Burch and R. L. Moore), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM054p0291

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093

  2. 2

    Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20707

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1989

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900742

Online ISBN: 9781118664315



  • Space plasmas;
  • Sun;
  • Magnetosphere;
  • Astrophysics


We describe an instrument capable of imaging the time-varying features of the entire outer corona (from near the Sun to beyond 90° elongation) via the Thomson-scattered diffuse solar light. This “all sky” imager works on a spin-stabilized spacecraft, preferably in deep space. The design for such an imager, which can for example study solar mass ejections at great distances from the Sun, must deal with spurious signals from stray light, zodiacal light, and stars to surface brightness levels below 1 S10 unit. The design discussed here envisions a set of three slit apertures, feeding one-dimensional detectors through a lens system; the spacecraft rotation allows a complete sky survey during each spin of the spacecraft. Data clocked into a computer memory complete the “image” of the whole sky. We have analyzed a “median filter” approach to reducing the effects of starlight, in real time, on the statistics of the residual diffuse background. The analysis also included simulations of spacecraft nutation, spin-phase timing error, and image quality in the necessary wide-field optics.