Solar polar imager: Observing solar activity from a new perspective

David Alexander, A. Sandman, P. Liewer, J. Ayon, B. Goldstein, N. Murphy, M. Velli, L. Floyd, D. Moses, D. Socker, A. Vourlidas, G. Garbe, S. Suess, D. Hassler, A. Kosovichev, R. Mewaldt, M. Neugebauer, R. Ulrich, T. Zorbuchen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Our current understanding of the Sun and its atmosphere is severely limited by a lack of observations of the polar regions. The Solar Polar Imager mission uses solar sail propulsion to place a spacecraft in a 0.48 AU circular orbit around the Sun with an inclination of 75°. This first direct view of the polar regions of the Sun enables crucial observations not possible from the usual ecliptic viewpoint and will revolutionize our understanding of the internal structure and dynamics of the Sun. The rapid 4 month polar orbit and the combined in situ and remote sensing instrument suite allows unprecedented studies of the link between the Sun and the solar wind and solar energetic particles. Moreover, SPI can serve as a pathfinder for a permanent solar polar sentinel for space weather prediction in support of the NASA Vision for Space Exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-666
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number592
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventSolar Wind 11/SOHO 16 - Connecting Sun and Heliosphere - Whistler, Canada
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 17 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Advanced propulsion
  • Future missions
  • Solar sails


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