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Solar and Space Physics

3. Orbits of Spacecraft that Observe the Sun

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this mini-lecture, we introduce the basic equations that describe orbiting objects and consider some of the spacecrafts orbiting our Sun. As we move through this mini-lecture, we consider: (i) Kepler’s Third Law, which relates the orbital period of an orbiting object to the semi-major axis of its orbit; (ii) the periods of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars; (iii) the equation for the velocity of orbiting bodies; (iv) NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission that uses a technique called flybys to get closer to the Sun and which travels at speeds around 7,000 km/s; (v) the Sun-observing satellite, Solar Orbiter (developed by the European Space Agency), which uses a series of flybys around Venus and the Earth to get closer and closer to the Sun; and (vi) how we utilise Lagrange points in space.

Course

In this course, Professor Louise Harra (ETH Zürich) explores solar and space physics. In the first mini-lecture, we introduce the layers of the Sun and the nuclear reactions that take place within it. In the second mini-lecture, we discuss the magnetic properties of the Sun, including sunspots and solar flares. In the third mini-lecture, we introduce the basic equations that describe orbiting objects and consider some of the spacecrafts orbiting our Sun, such as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter. The fourth mini-lecture turns towards space weather as we discuss interactions of the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields, the aurora borealis, and impacts of space weather on Earth. In the fifth mini-lecture, we discuss how space exploration can benefit the technologies we use on Earth. Finally, in the sixth mini-lecture, we consider the wide range of careers in science and space, and how to get involved.

Lecturer

Louise Harra is an affiliated Professor at ETH Zürich in addition to being the director of the Physikalisch-​Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos/World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC) in Davos, Switzerland. The institute is a world-leader in solar irradiance and ozone measurements, and builds ground-based and space-based instruments. Before joining PMOD/WRC, Professor Harra worked as a UK project scientist for the solar-B EUV Imaging Spectrometer (EIS), which was launched in 2006, after which she took over as principal investigator of the project until 2019. She is currently a co-principal investigator on the EUV Imager (EUI) and SPICE instruments onboard the ESA Solar Orbiter mission, as well as a co-investigator on the NASA IRIS mission. Professor Harra’s research interests are in solar physics, particularly solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and solar wind formation.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Harra, L. (2022, February 11). Solar and Space Physics - Orbits of Spacecraft that Observe the Sun [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/solar-and-space-physics/orbits-of-spacecraft-that-observe-the-sun

MLA style

Harra, L. "Solar and Space Physics – Orbits of Spacecraft that Observe the Sun." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Feb 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/solar-and-space-physics/orbits-of-spacecraft-that-observe-the-sun

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