Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph
The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph
|Mission type||Solar UV astronomy|
|Mission duration||2 years (planned)|
|Launch mass||183 kilograms (403 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||27 June 2013, 02:27:46UTC|
|Launch site||Stargazer, Vandenberg|
|Semi-major axis||7,012.01 kilometres (4,357.06 mi)|
|Perigee||620 kilometres (390 mi)|
|Apogee||662 kilometres (411 mi)|
|Epoch||29 November 2013, 15:16:42 UTC|
The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (or IRIS) is a space probe to observe the Sun by NASA. It is a NASA Small Explorer program mission to investigate the physical conditions of the solar limb, particularly the chromosphere of the Sun. Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL) integrated the observatory. The observatory consists of a spacecraft and spectrometer that LMSAL built, and a telescope provided by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Now that it is in orbit it is being operated by Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory and NASA Ames Research Center.
Its instrument is a high-frame-rate UV imaging spectrometer; one image a second, 0.3 arcsec spatial resolution, and sub-angstrom spectral resolution.
The spacecraft arrived at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. on April 16, 2013 and was successfully launched on June 27, 2013 on a Pegasus-XL rocket. IRIS achieved first light on July 17, 2013. NASA noted, "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." As of Oct 31, 2013, the IRIS data and images are available on the web.
Science and engineering team members include:
- Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Lab
- Lockheed Martin Sensing and Exploration Systems
- Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
- Montana State University – Bozeman
- Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo
- High Altitude Observatory, NCAR
- Stanford University
- NASA Ames Research Center
- NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
- National Solar Observatory
- Space Sciences Lab, UC Berkeley
- Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
- Sydney Institute for Astronomy, University of Sydney
- Center for Plasma Astrophysics, Catholic University of Leuven
- Mullard Space Science Laboratory
- Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory
- European Space Agency
- Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research
- National Astronomical Observatory, Tokyo
- Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
- Peat, Chris (29 November 2013). "IRIS - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- "NASA Selects Small Explorer Investigations for Concept Studies". NASA.
- "NASA Awards Two Small Explorer Development Contracts". NASA. 2009-06-19.
- "NASA's Newest Solar Satellite Arrives at Vandenberg AFB for Launch". NASA. 2013-04-17.
- "NASA's IRIS Mission Updates". NASA. 2013-06-25.
- Fox, Karen C. (July 25, 2013). "NASA's IRIS Telescope Offers First Glimpse of Sun's Mysterious Atmosphere". NASA.gov. Retrieved July 29, 2013.