Heliophysics Sentinels 2018
There have been few changes since the 2017 Earth-Orbiting Heliophysics Fleet. RHESSI, TWINS, and STEREO-B have been decommissioned, while GOLD and Parker Solar Probe have been added. As of fall 2018, here's a tour of the NASA Heliophysics fleet from the near-Earth satellites out to the Voyagers beyond the heliopause.
The satellite orbits are color coded for their observing program:
Magenta: TIM (Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere) observations Yellow: solar observations and imagery Cyan: Geospace and magnetosphere Violet: Heliospheric observations
- Hinode: Observes the Sun in multiple wavelengths up to x-rays. SVS page
- TIMED: Studies the upper layers (40-110 miles up) of Earth's atmosphere. SVS page
- SORCE: Monitors solar intensity across a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- AIM: Images and measures noctilucent clouds. SVS page
- Van Allen Probes: Two probes moving along the same orbit designed to study the impact of space weather on Earth's radiation belts. SVS page
- IRIS: Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph is designed to take high-resolution spectra and images of the region between the solar photosphere and solar atmosphere. SVS page
- SDO: Solar Dynamics Observatory keeps the Sun under continuous observation at 16 megapixel resolution. SVS page
- GOLD: Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk is a spectroscopic imager for studying the ionosphere.
- Geotail: Conducts measurements of electrons and ions in the Earth's magnetotail. SVS page
- Magnetospheric Multi-scale (MMS): This is a group of four satellites which fly in formation to measure how particles and fields in the magnetosphere vary in space and time. SVS page
- THEMIS: This is a fleet of three satellites to study how magnetospheric instabilities produce substorms. Two of the original five satellites were moved into lunar orbit to become ARTEMIS. SVS page
- IBEX: The Interstellar Boundary Explorer measures the flux of neutral atoms from the heliopause. SVS page
Lunar Orbiting Fleet:
- ARTEMIS: Two of the THEMIS satellites were moved into lunar orbit to study the interaction of the Earth's magnetosphere with the Moon. SVS page
Sun-Earth Lagrange Point One Fleet:
The L1 point is a Lagrange Point between the Sun and the Earth. Spacecraft can orbit this location for continuous coverage of the Sun.
- Voyager 1 & Voyager 2: The two Voyager spaceraft orbit originally performed flybys of the outer planets of the solar system but continued to operate. They are now the most distant monitors of the plasma in the space between the stars. At the time of this visualization, Voyager 2 has just crossed the heliopause.SVS page
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
- Tom Bridgman (Global Science and Technology, Inc.) [Lead]
MissionsThis visualization is related to the following missions:
- Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD)
- Hinode (Solar-b)
- IRIS: Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph
- Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS)
- Parker Solar Probe
- Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE)
- THEMIS and ARTEMIS
- Van Allen Probes
SeriesThis visualization can be found in the following series:
Datasets used in this visualization
Planetary ephemerides SPICE kernelSee more visualizations using this data set
JPL/Horizon Orbital Ephemerides
Space-Track TLE (A.K.A. Space-Track Two-Line Elements)
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.