Earth  Sun  ID: 4360

Heliophysics Sentinels 2018

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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

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
  • 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

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:

  • 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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Visualization Credits

Tom Bridgman (GST): Lead Visualizer
Laurence Schuler (ADNET): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET): Technical Support
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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Hinode (Solar-b)
IRIS: Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph
Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS)
Parker Solar Probe
Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE)
Van Allen Probes
Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD)

Data Used:
SSCweb also referred to as: SSCweb ephemerides
Ephemeris - NASA/GSFC Space Physics Data Facility - 2018-12-10T00:00 - 2018-12-12T06:00
Satellite ephemerides
JPL/Horizon Orbital Ephemerides
Ephemeris - NASA/JPL - 2018-12-10T00:00 - 2018-12-12T06:00
Planetary ephemerides
Space-Track Two-Line Elements also referred to as: Space-Track TLE
Ephemeris - NORAD - 2018-12-10T00:00 - 2018-12-12T06:00
Satellite ephemerides
DE 431
Ephemeris - JPL - 2018-12-10T00:00 - 2018-12-12T06:00
Planetary ephemerides SPICE kernel
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.

This item is part of this series:
Heliophysics Fleet

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SVS >> Solar Dynamics Observatory
SVS >> Spacecraft >> Voyager
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