Heliophysics Sentinels 2020

  • Released Tuesday, September 15, 2020

There have been few changes since the 2018 Heliophysics Fleet. Van Allen Probes and SORCE have been decommissioned, while Solar Orbiter, ICON and SET have been added. As of spring 2020, here's a tour of the NASA Heliophysics fleet from the near-Earth satellites out to the Voyagers beyond the heliopause.

Excepting the Voyager missions, 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


Near-Earth Fleet:

  • 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
  • ICON: Works with GOLD on studies of the ionosphere.
  • AIM: Images and measures noctilucent clouds. 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
  • SET: Space Environment Testbed exploring radiation-hardening technologies

Geosynchronous Fleet:

  • 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.

Geospace Fleet:

Lunar Orbiting Fleet:

  • THEMIS-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.

  • SOHO: Studies the Sun with cameras and a multitude of other instruments. SVS page
  • ACE: Measures the composition and characteristics of the solar wind. SVS page
  • Wind: Measures particle flows and fields in the solar wind. SVS page

Solar Orbiting Fleet:


Interstellar Fleet:

  • 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

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Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Release date

This page was originally published on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.
This page was last updated on Monday, July 15, 2024 at 12:08 AM EDT.


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