Thursday, May 26, 2011

AIA Cadence Change and Guide Telescope

A guide telescope PZT calibration was executed today.

The AIA 304 channel is showing some loss of sensitivity. We will be running that channel at a slower cadence (1 image in 304 per minute) rather than every 12 seconds as we have been doing. This will be tested today (5/27) and run for several months starting 5/30. The 94 channel that shares the telescope and CCD with the 304 channel does not show the same loss, so it will be run more frequently (1 304 image per minute and 4 94 images per minute).

"Solar Dynamics Observatory Lessons Affirmed," an article discussing some of the engineering lessons learned during the building of SDO appeared in ask Magazine, a publication that discusses project management and engineering at NASA. The article was written by Brent Robertson, last seen being the observatory manager for SDO, and Michael Bay, a member of the award-winning SDO Systems Engineering team.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Article in NatGeo Education

National Geographic Education published an interview with Phil Chamberlin, SDO Deputy Project Scientist, on May 11, 2011. Congratulations to Phil on a great article about GPS and becoming an astrophysicist!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Origins of the Patch

I received a request to tell the history of the SDO patch. The patch is derived from the sticker developed early in the mission. Initial designs of the sticker were produced by a graphics designer using an early version of the spacecraft. After a redesign, the spacecraft was replaced with the current version; the sticker was re-issued (see the version at the left) and the patch was designed and released.

We are a solar mission and the Sun is prominently featured in the patch. The Sun is shown coming out of eclipse, which happens periodically from our geosynchronous orbit. The abbreviations for the three instrument teams are placed in the lower border, the NASA acronym is at the lower edge of the central image, while the motto "Our Eye on the Sun" is placed in the upper border. The name of the observatory is the uppermost element in the lower part of the central image.

The motto was generated by members of the SDO Project team working with people from NASA headquarters. It emphasizes the almost 24/7 coverage of the Sun that SDO provides. It calls back to other sayings, such as "Don't Look at the Sun, That Our Job" that we had seen in other solar missions.

SDO is now in its operational orbit and producing the data that lives up to its motto.

AIA 304 Bakeout Today

Starting at 1600 UT today, May 19, 2011, the AIA 304 and 94 Å channels will be unavailable. The decontamination heaters will be turned on to drive contamination off of the CCD in that telescope. Other channels will be unaffected.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

SDO Weekly Report for May 5, 2011

The SDO Flight Operations Team supported a nominal lunar transit on Tuesday, May 3.

The FOT supported momentum unload maneuver (delta-H) #5 on May 4 at 1800 UT. The delta-H burn time was 3.8 seconds. Thruster 6 was fired for 150 milliseconds one minute prior to the delta-H burn in order to help prevent iron nitrate buildup in the fuel line. Momentum unload maneuvers are used to change the speed of the reaction wheels used to control where SDO is pointed.

The SDO Science Workshop ended today with workshops on different parts of the mission. Here is a group photograph at the High Camp in Squaw Valley, CA. A lot of talks and posters in 3.5 days!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SDO Science Workshop and Thruster Burn

Two hundred scientists have gathered at a resort in Squaw Valley, California to share their new results about the SDO data and science results. Monday had discussions about emerging sunspots and how to relate solar studies to other stars.

Hope you enjoyed the lunar transit this morning! Here is a picture from AIA 193 at 0729.

At 1803 UT (2:03 pm ET) Wednesday, May 5, SDO will do a thruster burn to control the momentum in the reaction wheels of the spacecraft. There will be an interruption of data from about 1758-1812 UT but the actual length will be determined by the thruster control software.

Monday, May 2, 2011

SDO is in Astronomy Magazine

Check out the cover story on SDO in the May issue of Astronomy magazine.